Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reckless Abandon

Two weeks ago today Chicago was under a blanket of snow some 20+ inches deep. The days that followed were cold and grey and ugly. Then the warm up began. Since Sunday each day has been a little warmer and the snow has been melting. A welcomed sight. This afternoon as I was driving home from work I saw two kids running, their coats were open and they were running into a Walgreens. They ran right at the bars that keep the shopping carts from leaving the front of the store and instead of going around them, they grabbed them and threw themselves over them, twisting around, landing their feet and laughing. No fear, no hesitation. It got me thinking about being young and having all that energy and some reckless abandon.

I recall episodes of reckless abandon. Not to say that some kids live their life in a constant state of it, though I guess it seems that some do. Those are the kids at the next table at the restaurant who you wish were duct taped to their chairs. As a kid, I can remember days at the playground, swinging on the swings as high as I could, or playing on the roller coaster slide (a tall metal slide that consisted of a long row of bars that spun as you rode down it, creating a really quick trip down. These days you wouldn't see one of those slides, they would be deemed too dangerous. I probably wasn't the most daring kid, thanks to my overprotective parents. I never had a bicycle but managed to teach myself to ride a neighbor's bike. I doubt I could do it today if I tried. I never learned to swim, in fact I have a fear of deep water thanks to an unsuccessful bout of reckless abandon. I was running on the steps of my grandmother's pool and I fell in and went right to the bottom of the pool. I think my uncle pulled me out. From that point forward I never had any desire to go into the pool.

Do adults lose their sense of reckless abandon, or do we just temper it? Maybe it's just a different form of it. You don't often see adults climbing a fence (unless you're watching "Cops") or playing on the swings at the park (unless they're with their kids). Maybe our brand of reckless abandon is calling in sick, or skipping a meeting, or ordering in dinner when there's food in the house but you just don't feel like cooking. Maybe it's asking someone out after meeting them online. Perhaps it's buying that new sweater at full price even though you know it will go on sale in a couple of weeks. These are the things that we deem exciting and make life fun.

Have you practiced a bit of reckless abandon lately?

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