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Get To Know Your Youth

Each day I wake up around 7:30 to start my Instacart trips around 8 am. If I'm lucky, there will be enough orders to fill my time until about noon. From there on and until the end of the day, I then spend my time at home reading, sunbathing, dancing, etc. But overall, each morning tends to follow the same routine. Yesterday was different though.

From the minute I woke up, I felt the humidity pouring in from outside. Inside my room in the RV it was a bit chilly, and rather damp. I woke up to the sound of the rain. So, my body told me it was going to be another cold, sad day. I put on warm clothes to prepare, but when I opened the door to start making my way to my car for my first shopping trip of the day, I was hit with warm, damp air. It made me smile. I really do not like the cold, so this turn of events in the temperature outside was a nice surprise. I went about my day as normal after that; I grabbed my water bottle and charger, drove to Price Chopper, and started shopping for a person in the next town over. I was excited because this trip had a big tip included. After checking out, I drove the 15 minutes to the customer's house, got flipped off by a driver who decided to stop in the middle of a 50 mph highway, and then left the bags outside and gathered my tip. All in a day's work.

On my way back to the store, things felt different. I was playing my new song obsession, "Hold Me" by Thomas on repeat, and the fog in the distant was making the country scenery look so quiet and beautiful. I started to approach a small trail head that I pass by almost everyday while doing these trips, and something told me to stop. There was only one car in the gravel lot, which made sense: it was still barely 9 am. So I pulled over, and in my Teva sandals and grocery shopping attire, I decided to go on a hike in the rain. That same feeling I had when I woke up that morning returned, and even though I was damp and my hair was frizzier than it has been in a while, I felt really content and happy to be outside.

At some point, I took off my sandals and let the rainwater drip off my hair and into my face. It was extremely refreshing. I started to think...

Why did I stop? In any other circumstance would I have been happy to be out in the rain? If I were with my sister, or my family, would I be judged for walking barefoot in the pine needles and mud? And why? If I can be content in my decisions and actions, why can't others? There are a lot of things that I do differently from my family. None of them good or bad, just different. We all judge each other, how could we not? But it never really matters that much because we all love each other and can understand that what works for one of us, doesn't always work for all of us. But there, in the woods, I started to question routine, spontaneity, and expectation.

A lot of people try to chase this ideal of youthfulness in their daily routines. They want to feel young. They want to be perceived as young. They want to remain young. But at the same time, these people would rather not embrace what actually makes up youth. As a child, did you ever think about the smoothness of your skin, or the mobility of your joints? Of course not. As a child, you probably were focused on seeing your friends, going swimming, playing with bugs and frogs, playing House or some other made-up game, and trying to have fun at all times of the day. As you grew up you realized that there is more involved to life than just having fun, but that doesn't mean that you need to abandon fun all together. The best way to stay in touch with your youth, is to support those things that make youth so enticing. The expectation of what adulthood is, does not have to be this mundane routine of work, eat, sleep. Try exploring things with your imagination with curiosity, rather than with a lens always based in reality. Try doing things that you think might make you feel silly, but are not things you would ever think silly of a child. Dance in your kitchen to your favorite song, walk barefoot in your lawn, or go play in the rain! Add little bursts of spontaneity into your day, and don't be afraid to listen to your inner voice. Your body and your mind are always looking out for you. If they're speaking to you, listen.

As I was thinking all this, and trying to understand what brought me to the hike, I think I came to a bit of an understanding that I have been focused on my future and trying to find a job for this summer, but I haven't had much time to be me. That walk in the rain, by myself, and in the woods was a reminder that not everything has to be surrounded by stress, planning, and dollar signs. Take some time for yourself to feed your inner child.

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