Things We Forget

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There was a time, before we got all jaded and grumpy, that our main purpose was to have fun. As kids, we jumped out of bed every morning, eager to find the best ways to a) get candy, b) meet friends, c) watch cartoons and d) avoid chores at all costs.

We had it all figured out. Why did grown-ups make everything so difficult? Politics, manipulation and sociopathic behaviors were things we didn’t understand. (I still don’t understand.)

After life punches us in the face for several decades, we get out of bed a little slower and rarely find time for cartoons or candy. Friends become precious. Chores increase exponentially.

But maybe those 10-year-old versions of ourselves were right all along. Maybe we need to remember some basic rules about life that were totally obvious to us before we finished elementary school. These things are truths at any age.

  • Going to the bank is boring—unless there are those chain-attached pens you can play with
  • If you’re good at the store, you might get a Butterfinger
  • Going to the zoo sounds like a good idea, but it’s actually exhausting
  • Visiting grandma gets you spoiled
  • Sometimes you need to stay in bed all day reading a good book
  • Making friends is easy
  • Going to bed early is a punishment
  • It’s okay to cry when your feelings are hurt
  • Saturday morning cartoons are awesome
  • Spending an afternoon in the park is the best use of your time
  • A $20 bill makes you rich
  • When your friend is mean, it’s okay to tell them that wasn’t nice
  • It’s fun to be excited for birthdays and Christmas
  • Eating cold cereal for dinner is the best
  • Throwing a water balloon at your sister is thrilling
  • You never have to watch your carbs
  • Shoes aren’t always necessary
  • Cloud watching is not a waste of time

So how did we go from being fun-loving kidlets to cranky adults? When did we decide it was better to be busy than to have fun?

As with most terrible things, I blame the teenage years. Being 13 years old can be devastating. If you watch the movie Eighth Grade, be prepared for some serious junior high PTSD as a beautiful young girl destroys her own self-esteem with anxiety, junior high romance and pool parties. Seriously triggering.

Once we drag ourselves out of the primordial swamp of high school, we’ve become a little less trusting and optimistic. Then we double-down on our cynicism as we enter the workforce.

When you were in elementary school, dreaming about the time you’d be a grown up with your own car and the ability to eat ice cream after midnight, you never considered the possibility that working sucks. Sure, we saw our parents come home from work, down a bottle of gin and collapse on the couch like a bag of old pudding, but that was because they’d had SO MUCH FUN at work!

Something needs to change.

If you find yourself scowling at happiness, it’s time to check back with your inner fourth-grader and do something fun. Skip work and go hiking. Have an ice-cream sundae, without promising to jog later (because 10-year-olds don’t jog). Start a conversation with a stranger. Spend $20 on something entirely useless. Have Lucky Charms for dinner.

We need to remember, it’s fun to a) get candy, b) meet friends, c) watch cartoons and d) avoid chores at all costs. Life’s too short to grow old.

Originally published in Iron County Today–http://ironcountytoday.com/columns/life-laughter/things-we-forget/

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Top 5 Signs I Shouldn’t Be A Gardener

Everywhere I look, flowers are blooming. Unless I look at my yard, where plants are held hostage in my little death camp garden. I can not grow things. I’m like a foliage serial killer–without the cool TV series.

dexter(“The hedges needed a little. . . trimming.”)

Some people use gardening as meditation, working the soil, feeling the fresh earth between their fingers. But instead of dropping me into a Zen state, gardening pisses me off. If I spend 5 hours pulling the damn weeds, they’d better stay pulled.

Here are the Top 5 Signs I Shouldn’t  Be a Gardener:

#1–I’m a Tad Forgetful:  Wildflowers don’t need someone dumping water on them, so why do my flowers insist on being hand-fed every day?Seems kind of lazy to me, petunias. It’s sad to watch my plants implore passersby to either give them a drink of water, or stone them to death.

sad tree(My trees are such drama queens.)

#2–I Don’t Like Pain: I’ve spent my entire life avoiding painful things. I don’t run with scissors. I don’t do base jumping. I’ve never ridden a bull. So, why would I shove my hand into thorny shrubbery to remove the weeds slowly choking the life out of it? Everything I touch seems to have bristles that leave my fingers consistently swollen and sliver-infested.

#3–My Houseplants Commit Suicide: Self-explanatory. I’ve even had plastic plants shrivel up and die.

#4–It’s Never the Perfect Temperature: Gardening in Utah has to be quick. Flowers bloom in April, but only have until July before the sun bakes their little petals into tea leaves. Whenever the urge to “garden” hits me (usually in the form of my husband telling me to get outside and weed), it’s either a) too windy, b) too hot, c) too cold, d) too dry, e) too boring or f) just not of interest to me at the time. (Let me finish this little George R. R. Martin book, and I’ll be out.)

hurricane(Not optimal gardening weather.)

#5–It’s Boooooring: I’d rather watch NASCAR. I’d rather clean grout. I’d rather listen to a book on tape read by Forrest Gump. I’d rather sit through a marriage seminar (and I might have to if I don’t start watering the roses). I’ve heard people say, “Time just stands still when I’m in my garden.” Yeah, because it’s boring as hell.

Luckily, my husband enjoys doing tedious tasks while being impaled by overgrown brambles. So, we compomised. He does the yard work–and I don’t.