When I was a kid I used to feel so much wonder. There were certain things that brought this feeling. The end of school and beginning of summer were monumental for me and some movies embody that. I think it was a combo of soundtrack and storyline. Karate Kid was a summer movie that captured my youthful exhuberance, so were Dirty Dancing, Footloose and Sixteen Candles. All of these movies make me feel young again when I see them. They represent the summers of my youth in one way or another.
A great book could also bring wonder. I remember reading Summer of the Green Star by Robert C. Lee. It was my feel good book. I almost got to meet the author once at a book signing, but he left just before I got there. For me he was a rock star, so my disappointment was tangible. That wonder also stretched to visiting the old Main Branch Library in Springfield, Missouri with my dad. That library smelled old and historic. It smelled like words. It is a big reason I wanted to keep writing. I wanted my book in those shelves. Sadly, the library has moved on to a more modern facility. How many writers will not “be” because they missed the heart of the book that pulsed through that space?
Christmas lights being put up at the beginning of the season are another thing that brought that wonder and a feeling of complete amazement. I love watching Christmas movies in the summertime because I can get really nostaligic for the winter, a first snow, and carols. I love carols for the same reason I love Christmas movies. A carol makes me think of hot chocolate by a fire, a good book, baking with my mother, hunting for the tree with my dad, and peace. Peace.
The way things look after a rain shower when the sun comes out, also used to bring me wonder. I played softball as a teen and there were many times on a rainy day I would be praying to play instead of a rainout, and that first sun meant “game on”. Living in the country far away from my friends was lonely and games meant people, flirting, and fun. On that same note, there is a very reclusive side of me and sometimes I would pray for rain so that I could be inside writing and reading and dreaming of a future that seemed so wide open. In hindsight, it is that wide open future that made things so wonderous, and I didn’t even know it then. But, I sure know it now.
The struggle for me today is finding that same wonder into adulthood. About the only things that allow me that overwhelming joy at life I had as a kid are traveling and B-, and I think that’s because I’m not mired down in the daily grind when I’m traveling and B- is my best friend. It would be so nice to see the wonder in things without the weightiness of adult life to make them all foggy. I’ve decided I need to work on this, but I just don’t know how. I can still see things that are wonderful, but it’s just not the same when your shoulders are heavy with stress. On occasion, there will be a moment driving in the car, or walking down the street, spending time with my kids, etc. where I feel like my childhood self, the one who believed in the impossible, but they’re just glimpses now. So, I want to know, how do you do it? I would like to hear that others have found a way to get that wonder back. Do you have a way to tap into that sheer delight at being alive and seeing the beauty in what’s around you? If so, please share. I’m on a mission.