It’s a beautiful day here in southern California. A bit on the windy side, but still a mildly warm 70 degrees. I am lucky to live where I do. I don’t think I would last a day anywhere East of here with it’s frigid and icy winters. And when it is bright and sunny outside, I like making the most of my day and doing something outdoors so I can really soak up those rays of joy.
I’ve always said to myself that one of these days I’m going to take a trip to the park. I never really did it though because I was either too afraid to go by myself, or felt that people would think I’m weird for being alone at the park. Why you ask do I care so much about what others think? Or why was I so afraid of going to the park alone – as if it was some sketchy, dangerous place to be in. So today I thought, why not. Today is as good as any to go and take a trip to the park. Who cares if I’m alone. Who cares if people stare. I’m going to simply enjoy. Maybe even swing on the swings and bring out the inner child in me. Sometimes it’s good to be playful like that. To add a little silliness into your life to keep it youthful.
I packed a small tote filled with snacks and a water bottle, a magazine, and a new novel I’ve been dying to read. I decided I would have my fur baby, Lola, accompany me since she also doesn’t get to go out very often (since her mommy is a bad mommy and doesn’t take her further than the backyard most of the time.) She was excited as ever when I brought out her leash. I put on my sneakers and off we went, just the two of us, having a relaxing day together at the local park.
When we arrived, I felt surprisingly ok. No fear whatsoever of what people would think or that I was completely alone. I kept reminding myself that this was for me and for lola. That we were here simply to relax and enjoy ourselves and treat ourselves to something nice. There were a few families gathered at the playground area with their small children running from the swings to the slide. I could feel the purity of their laughter coming out from their tiny little mouths. They were having so much fun and I even felt so much joy just watching them, knowing that this day would make an impact on their lives. That maybe they felt loved by their parents because they treated them to a fun-filled day at the park. It reminded me of when I was a small child and my grandpa taking me and my sisters to the local park. To a small child, it felt like a different world. A world full of colors and playing and laughter. As an adult you don’t realize how important it really is for a child to have those opportunities to laugh and play and simply be themselves. By going to the park, I feel that it reminded me of this, that even as adults we must also find that same desire to laugh and play and simply be ourselves.
We walked on the dirt running path for awhile then made our way towards the middle to the grass area. Lola was going wild taking in all the sights and new scents, stopping every minute to check out a rose bush or pile of sticks. A mother and her three children were walking near by and the son, maybe 3 or 4 in age, walked right up to us. No fear was in his eyes, but instead pure curiosity. The mother seemed a little uncomfortable as her little boy was walking up to a strange dog. But he was very gentle with lola, and lola is not one to bite anyhow, she’s just as gentle back. I kneeled down to help the boy pet lola with out making her feel threatened. Then the older and middle aged daughters came up to us as well wanting to pet her. Soon I had three small children surrounding me and I felt such happiness that I was able to bring them such joy by allowing them to pet my dog. The older daughter asked me a few questions like Lola’s name and how old she was. Then she said “you have such a pretty dog. thank you for letting us pet her.” Then they all ran off to join their mother who was walking up ahead.
Finally, after scavenging for a nice patch of grass, we sat down. The wind had finally died down, so I could really feel the warmth of the sun on my face. Lola doesn’t really like sitting still, so she was a bit restless and didn’t like the idea as much as I did to lay in the grass. But she was still good. She stood right next to me, looking left to right at the people or birds, any sort of movement was interesting to her. I pulled out my magazine and took a sip of water and began to really unwind. It was nice. Very nice actually. And I didn’t realize how the simple act of being in a park could bring about such peace. I feel that people don’t take as much time going to parks as they used to. Even children find it somewhat boring because they are not used to playing outside or running around but rather nowadays are more interested in playing on their electronics. But I think it’s important to sit with nature. To feel the grass beneath you. The wind pulling up strands of your hair. To hear the laughter of childhood.
It makes you feel a sense of wonder, and I think it’s important to keep that sense of wonder alive, especially in adulthood. We should always be curious. We should always be in tune with our surroundings. We should feel open to discovery. Always learning. Always touching. Always playing. Always exploring the unknown. It’s good to do that. It keeps you feeling alive. We get so caught up in our daily lives, that they pass us by and then one day we look back and wonder if we ever really lived at all.
I don’t want to do that. Neither should you.
The Self Love Daily Challenge #031: Be curious.
Find your sense of wonder once more. Live curiously. Explore unknown paths and discover new meaning. It’s fun. Yes, a little scary, but worth it. Go to the park today or anywhere really that you haven’t been to before or in a long time. Look at it with fresh eyes and don’t be afraid of allowing yourself to find that childlike wonder.