Whenever I sit on a set of swings, it is like time traveling. Just a few pumps of the legs and I am taken back to a place in life of simplicity; a time when the world seemed full of possibilities. I recall the sensation of flying, back and forth, and think of when life was so new and dreams were big and unbridled. If you wanted to be a ballerina or an astronaut, you very well could be, you had your entire life ahead of you. The possibilities were endless, the experiences were green, and you didn’t have a care in the world. We wrote our lives out in games of M.A.S.H. assuming life would be as easy as picking your dream job, number of kids, and not living in the “Shack” or married to Screech from Saved by the Bell. We would swing, never getting tired, never stopping to think about getting back to work, or that we were ruining our shoes by dragging them back and forth in the dirt.
I heard once that when a child’s brain is developing, most experiences to them are the equivalent of and adult falling in love, in Paris, after winning a million dollars. This might be why nostalgia is such an attractive feeling to us. We are remembering this newness, this emotional virginity. We have over the years gotten lost in the clutter and bogged down by our under-achievements, disappointment in others, worry of things to come and our preparedness for them. But yet there is still this naked sense of joy of just pumping your legs back and forth, being satisfied with flying just a little bit, letting the wind mess your hair up and wash away everything unnecessary to the enjoyment of this moment. Seeing the world as it is, appreciating it and letting that be enough for us. In childhood we didn’t try and tame or neuter the world so that it met our needs or fit our requirements, we simple stood back amazed at it’s grandness and exhaled a very informal “Wow.” And so I swing, sticking my legs out in front of me, then drawing them back as I fall back towards the earth, doing this over and over again. Until I can cleanse myself of the idea that I am a very serious adult, or that the world is not meeting my expectations or timeline, until I feel like I am flying for a brief moment and experiencing the world like I never needing anything more than what it was giving me at that very moment.