I have been totally devouring the book – Be a Free Range Human, by Marianne Cantwell. One of the questions asked in the book – When you were 8 years old, what three things could you be found doing?
I always hated questions like that. Seriously, what does running wild as an 8-year-old have to do with my 57-year-old self. Or climbing trees to read a book? Or throwing rocks at my brother?
The aha moment came as I set outside my cute Air B&B, with my cup of coffee, enjoying my brief getaway from the real world when I totally got the answer to the question.
What did I do as an 8 year old? I ran wild, with my sister and the two neighbor girls. We lived in a rural part of Arkansas, surrounded by woods and creeks, and trees, and hollers. During the summer, my mom babysat the two neighbor girls and we were out from dawn to dusk. No reason to go inside. There was no Netflix, or computers or internet. You went inside for lunch and a nap.
We were raised as free-range children and that freedom never left me. Oh, I tamped it down, partly because of my own idea of how my life should be which was formed by what others actually told me my life should be.
My mom – you should marry that boy, he will calm you down.
Me – I married him.
That marriage began a whole adulthood of trying to mold myself into that life of family, kids, work and education. Not that I regret any of that…I can’t go back and change it even if I wanted to.
The regret is the whole lot of shit it has dumped on me and how hard that mess is to clean up. No matter how hard I scrub, the stink is still there. However, here is the part that really pisses me off, I keep going back to roll into more shit.
What was your passion as a child?
In relation to the above question, I got just as irritated at questions that asked my passions as a child.
What 8 year old has a passion?
Once again, I now know my passion was being a free-range kid and all the fun, and risks, and questions, and seeking answers, and finding ways to pass the time, and all the moments spent laying in the grass looking up at the sky and all the other less than adult things it encompassed.
As an adult, I called it wanderlust, never happy with where I was, always looking at my neighbors greener grass, flitting in and out of friends, jobs and relationships, trying to mold myself to them. Because that is what an adult does…we are responsible and we behave like adults. We don’t sit and stare out the window and daydream.
You can be a free-range human and still be a responsible adult. Do not fall for that line anymore, that if you don’t conform to societal norms you are somehow irresponsible and unfit.
That 8-year-old girl has been screaming at me to let her out and I will tell you, if I push her aside one more time, I fear the havoc she wrecks this time, will pale in comparison to years past.
Would love your thoughts on this. What were your “passions” as a child and how do you see them relating to you as an adult.
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