Are you wearing pants? No, this is not the beginnings of an obscene phone call. It’s National No Pants Day! Are you celebrating? I may or may not be bottomless right now, but either way, it’s okay! Spring is in the air. The temps are warmer and the days nicer. Now, I’m a winter girl. Sweatshirts and blankets and a nip in the air feed my soul. In fact, I recently did a One Word challenge exercise describing my perfect day with my word. I won’t bore you with all of it but it involved snow on the ground, a fuzzy blanket and a fire place in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. But I recently completed another writing exercise that had me singing about spring! Let’s play!
A fellow blogger recommended Carrie Underwood’s book Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life. I have been in the fitness profession for almost as many years as I wasn’t, so I’m not really looking for someone to design an exercise program for me or put me on a diet. But the reviewer said just reading her personal stories motivated her and I need a little motivation to put my health first these days.
Carrie’s love of health and fitness is inspiring, but I found her journal prompts most interesting and helpful! The very first one had me turning over spring and summer days of my childhood. Such a simpler time when all I needed was my imagination and the great outdoors. Maybe my free write will bring back pleasant memories for you too!
Prompt: What are your earliest memories of physical activity? Were you into sports? Did you like to play outside?
Answer: When my family lived on Rita Street, I climbed trees in the yard. I probably wasn’t more than a few feet off the ground, but it felt dangerously high! My Papa eventually built us a tree house over the sandbox. It was simple – it didn’t even have walls or a roof – but we felt like the luckiest kids in the world. My sisters and I decorated it and held club meetings that required a secret password.
The front legs of our metal swing set came up out of the ground if we swung high enough. It felt like the whole thing could topple over. The perceived danger make it more fun. When I got my swing going as high as I could, I liked to jump out while singing the theme song from “The Greatest American Hero” TV show. “Believe it or not, I’m walking on air. I never thought I could feel so free! Flying away on a wing and a prayer. Who could it be? Believe it or no, it’s just me.” For the 2 seconds I was in the air I moved my legs as fast as I could to mimic walking on air. And I did feel free!
I loved to play in the dirt. I liked to dig worms out of the ground almost as much as I liked to pick cicada shells off the trees and plants to collect in a bucket. The mud pies I made in my sandbox/ pretend restaurant were the tastiest in town. I know my mom appreciated the storage room that sat between the backyard and our house. At the end of a day’s play, she would often step out the kitchen door and have us strip off our filthy clothes before setting foot inside. If we had turned the water hose on in the sandbox, she might use it to hose us off as well.
Our little yellow house sat catty corner from the high school’s tennis courts. My sisters and I loved to snap our metal roller skates onto our tennis shoes and skate around and around on that smooth concrete. Our best friend Jennifer from across the street came too. She had the pretty white traditional skates with colored pompoms on them. We weren’t jealous, though. Much.
We also invited Jennifer to play badminton or croquet in the back yard. I’m sure the equipment came from a garage sale, but we didn’t care. We also rode our bikes all over the neighborhood. We often picked up more friends from other girl named streets like Joyce and Scarlett. The developer named all the streets after his daughters. I loved to explore and pick up speed with freedom and a breeze for wings.
I came to organized sports a little later than most of my friends. My twin sister and I asked to play little league softball in the 4th grade because our friends did. We had a learning curve to catch up to the others. This is probably the first memory I have of competition and comparison. Sports didn’t come easy to me but I loved being active and a team dynamic. I would go on to try my hand at volleyball, basketball and track before graduating into the real world.
No matter what I did outside, the best part was running in the house to stand in front of the window air conditioning unit to cool off. Nothing ever felt better. I’m still convinced. I would stand there as long as my mom would let me. She would eventually tell us to quit hogging the AC. We would get a drink or a snack and then head back out again.
All this nostalgia makes me wistful for play. At what age do we decide it’s unnecessary? I know I do a horrible job of incorporating it into my days. And I’m sure I’d be a lot better for it. My idea of play may not include worms anymore. (If you like worms, you do you!) But it probably would include being outside. While it’s true I am an avid indoorsman now, I think I’d do well to shake up my routine. Especially in the spring.
“Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.” -Stuart Brown, MD
And now for this week’s featured post from the link up!
I have been journaling lately and it has been so revelatory, so Michele Morin’s post Journal Keeping as a Tactic for Self Awareness and God Awareness was so helpful to me. I pray it will be for you too.
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