It’s Sunday morning, and my family and I are saddled up to the counter at the Waffle House. I’m seven years old, watching our waitress in silent wonder. I love the spotlessness of her crisp, white outfit, amazed that there are no stains on it given the mess of food she’s surrounded by. With every order she takes, her smile doesn’t leave her face, and with every order she expertly serves, her gracefulness never seems to waver.
When she places our food in front of us—waffles, of course—she looks at me, her eyes twinkling.
“Y’all enjoy your food now, all right?”
I smile back at her and nod, thinking about how kind and pretty she is. I think about how happy she must make people, serving up filling, comforting food for their hungry bellies.
In that moment, I decide that when I grow up, I want to be just like her. Continue reading “Week 50: The Priceless Pursuit of Passion | Everyday Nostalgia”
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I wonder if adults ask young children this common question because they want to be entertained a bit, believing that the immediate answer might be something outrageous, something silly. “I want to be a dog!” “A ninja!” “A mermaid!” “A dinosaur!”
While some of these things might not be entirely possible to become (at least in their literal sense), I truly believe that the more common answers children have to this question—like a policeman, a fireman, a doctor, a teacher, a musician, or an artist (my five-year-old daughter Zoey is convinced she will own an art gallery when she grows up)—come from a place deep down inside them that is just waiting to become. It’s like their little souls know what their hearts want to do. What their hearts must do. Childhood dreams of becoming a pilot, or a chef, or dancer, or an astronaut, are the definition of the old adage, “the sky’s the limit.”
But then we become adults, where lower-than-sky limits manifest themselves and our “you can be whatever you want to be” dreams turn into “you can be whatever you want to be … as long as it it reasonable, stable and predictable.” And then we blink and our lives become this busy, overwhelming saga, filled with clutter and noise. Jobs, responsibilities, appointments, cooking, cleaning, eating, sleeping, repeating. Sometimes it’s hard to listen to what our hearts and souls are trying to tell us when there’s no space to let in things we need to hear.
But for children—with their uncomplicated lives—it’s easier to leave that space open. If their souls drive them to do something, they can hear the request, listen, and react—often without any hesitation. Ever watch a child as they listen to the first few notes of a song? They sing and dance along to it. Give them a blank piece of paper? They pick up a pen or pencil, and they begin to write, draw, and create.
Continue reading “Week 3: Find Your Must | Everyday Nostalgia”