So here’s what I think happened: I was so rebellious as a teen that the pendulum thereafter-powered by all that momentum- swung all the way to the other side in my thirties. As Eric said, I ran out of steam, which might account for my regular 9pm bedtimes. Admittedly, I can be a little straight-laced these days. Do we have that expression in the US?! A little serious, sensible, strait-jacketed. Which, on reflection, runs contrary to my adventurous nature.
If you’re a parent I’m sure you can relate; once my little boy was born, everything changed. Its like the new ‘Paddington’ movie. Mr. Brown arrives with expectant mother Mrs. Brown at the hospital on a motorbike. “This won’t change us, will it?” bellows Mrs. Brown through the din of the bike, holding their bellyful of baby. She later emerges from hospital, mit babe, to a new beige Volvo and a vest-clad overly protective husband. Night and day from the long-haired reckless rocker that dropped her off.
Oh of course there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with children or any other new outside responsibility like a job promotion sobering up your once carefree behavior. Its admirable and, very often, necessary if you’re to be effective in that new role. Gosh, I’d go so far as to say birthing my children saved me from myself. They were certainly the catalyst for the pretty marked positive inner transformation.
But I was reminded recently how we should still honor that cheeky, perhaps naughty side of our selves. My sister has been staying. Growing up I was stereotypical ‘black sheep middle sister.’ She was the wise youngest, that wisdom garnered from not wanting to repeat all the myriad of mistakes her elder sisters made; dodgy boyfriends, wild house parties, flouting school rules. It’s still a habit (and joy) of mine to try and corrupt her strict sense of what she should be doing, to try and penetrate her endearing stubbornness, to lead her astray. I frequently catch myself saying things to her such as: “Go on sis, ride that rollercoaster! Live a little!” or, “Sis, it’s not gonna kill you,” or “Let’s have a night out, c’mon sis!”
I noticed, though, her self decorum was like a mirror of mine. We criticize and attempt to change that in others which we ourselves posses but perhaps dislike or disregard.
How were you BC (Before Children)? Or BR, Before Responsibility? Is there any of the old you that you could invite back, at least now and then, to serve your sense of fun?
I don’t mean to pick up smoking again, or blackout following being chivied home by your friends after a drunken night at the club, with frequents stumbles into the hedgerows. No, little notes of cheekiness that are like refreshing droplets of rain after a hot arid summer for your soul. Skinny-dip. Stay up late and have a chick-flick or comedy movie marathon. Read a book that is totally non educational but sodding hilarious, and let that be enough. Wear something more risqué. (This is one for me to take note of, give my overly-loved yoga pants a day off:-) Plan a random road trip. Dance like no one is watching to a song you put on repeat as a teen. Take a day off and do nothing productive with it, besides what your spirit dictates. Get out of your head space, place your left hand over your heart and ask your love center, ‘what shall we do?’ Plan a naughty getaway or evening at home for your partner, surprise their expectations of you.
You may well find that it is these moments of stepping outside of our to-do’s that we become available for our biggest strokes of inspired ideas. We are sojourning from the world of incessant doing and liberating our essence of beingness which is where I find all of our real, raw genius resides. No doubt this is why the most cherished artists, actors and creative brains are often seen as the most eccentric.
As long as obviously your cheeky adventure causes no harm (disclaimer!) embrace something that sparks life back into the You pre I-have-to-do-this-and-this-and-thus-have-no-time-for-unproductive-things-like-that.
Honoring our cheeky side can be a thrilling, regenerating a rush of adrenalin for our spirits, reminding ourselves that its not all about toil and struggle and routine but what happens in between. Which bits of your life might you, smiling through glistening eyes, recount as you slip from this world into the next?
Tickled from writing this post I’ve just put a call into my husband: “Let’s go to a water park tomorrow! Sod the home repairs.” “Er, okay” he said. So that’s us this weekend.
How will you grab life by the horns?
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” (Marilyn Monroe)
Amen and Roger that, Marilyn.