Soak It Up, Life Is Too Short

Growing up tends to make us forget how fun and reckless we used to be, but I’m here to tell you, life is too short! Here’s how you can get that part of yourself back!

by Jordan Paul | Jordan Paul, passionately passionate about all the passions…and bread, comes at you with spunk and honesty as she’s trying to balance life as a tandem-breastfeeding mom of two girls, small business owner, and non-cleaning housewife. You can find her roaming the aisles of Aldi, mindlessly humming The Alphabet. Follow her on Facebook.

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Well, Florida experienced fall! Granted, it took place in just one day but that one day was perfection. My kids spent more time outside that one day than probably the past year combined. We played on the patio, had a picnic for lunch in the driveway, spent the morning crunching the grass with our bare feet, and wrote our names in chalk. 

Being out there with them, watching their faces as the wind blew their hair back, reminded me of how I had the same reckless abandon when I was a kid. It also made me so sad because I couldn’t remember when I stopped being care-free and fun.

Decades ago, recess was the best thing ever; it didn’t matter what the weather was- my place was amongst the other kids fighting for the tetherball championship title. Running the mile for gym class in my brand-new outfit, scraping my knees on the tiny rocks and feeling my feet tingle when I jumped off the swings, or even just sitting on the grass, using a blade to play the trumpet with a group of my closest girlfriends.

All told, it was the best parts of my days growing up. My parents knew that any dinner served would have to be quick so I could get back outside to my position on the kickball field. I was picking gnats out of my teeth from hiding in the bushes in an intense game of Hide-and-Seek. 

So what happened?! When did I get to be like this? When did I become so focused on growing up that I forgot what it felt like to be in the wonder years?!

Based on the mantras out of my mouth to my kids, you’d never think I was once a little girl who didn’t care if I had dirt under my nails and tangled hair. 

Roll it up; too windy

Turn it down; too loud

Slow down; too fast

Wipe it off; too messy

Stand up; too dirty

If I knew in the moment that it was my last somersault, the last swing on the monkey bars, the last time I’d put my hand out the window on the highway without fear of messing up my hair sprayed head, or the last time I’d examine a butterfly on my fingers, I’d have soaked in the moment more intently. I’d never have let my fear of breaking something in my body as I aged, break my spirit. I took it all for granted. So on this one day of under-ninety-degrees-Florida-weather, let me share some of the “reshaping my old ways” thoughts I had while cloud naming with my girls.

1. Life doesn’t have a textbook

I’ve forgotten that life is a lesson but not everyone will learn the same way. Living requires flexibility.

I have spent so much of my adult life weighing the risks of everything I do that my calculated moves make me such a bore. I plan my days in fifteen-minute, color-coded increments, feeling inadequate when my day derails because I couldn’t tie my shoe fast enough. As a result of this, I’ve literally watched others live a life that I wish I had the courage to attempt. I don’t want to have my kids think their mom only sat back, watched, and cheered from a distance. I don’t want to be watching their lives sitting still; I want to be the one running with them, but from the sidelines. 

2. Your mind is the most powerful thing you own

On this cool fall day, I spent a good ten minutes explaining to my toddler that if I cut the sandwich in squares, they can also be diamonds. She was insistent that they’re only diamonds. What can I say?! She’s got good taste. But man, the mental toughness required to go head-to-head over sandwich shapes! She didn’t wear down…but I did. That’s probably been my misstep many times. Whether it’s my lack of courage, my negative self-talk, or just the struggle to possess enough tenacity to get through the day, I’ve let my mind break me. I’ve taken a knee at the hard stuff; of which seemed easier to concede. Now that I’m aware of this, I’ve been actively trying to show my girls that working the mind in positive ways, even in seemingly negative times, equips our brain with the tools to not back down– from a conviction, a new skill, or a self-affirming opportunity.

3. Acting childish doesn’t mean you’re immature

Seeing the rain make me dread the day. When my toddler sees rain, she asks if it’s time to put on her swimsuit and jump in puddles. If there’s a dead bug on the sidewalk, I walk around it, trying not to dirty my shoes. When my toddler sees one, she bends down, examines every inch of it, and asks me to look. It’s when I view the world through her eyes that I’m able to appreciate the wonder and awe of her innocence. Taking time to smell the roses with her has made me fun again. It’s allowed me to slow down. And I’m hoping that if I can keep up with her, that the speed in which she “grows up” will slow down, too. 

I’m learning as I go. 

But my new mantra is,

“Soak it up, life is too short.”

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