Enough already! You are stressed out. Overworked. Underpaid. And buried under your day-to-day life. Sure, you could practice yoga, try to eat healthier and learn to rest more. But how about, for one brief moment, recapturing your youth. For me, these six things do the trick.
- Get on your bike and ride! But there is more. Make sure when you ride you get a chance to ride down a great, big, steep hill. I am nowhere near ready for Le Tour de France, but I do have a special Sunday route that forces me to bike two miles up a hill. It is an exhausting workout and sometimes I don't think I'll make it. But then comes the downhill part. The wind in my face and speed I pick up make me feel amazing and youthful, like I have no cares in the world. And for those few minutes, riding fast down that hill, I don't. If you need to get someone to drive you up that great, big, steep hill in a car, do it! But for youth's sake, get yourself down that hill on a bike.
- Grab your favorite childhood book and read! For me, a poet, it is Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends. That book, published in 1974, remains dear to me for it is the book that inspired me to write poetry. I can still remember discovering it in the library of my second grade classroom during, what my kids refer to today as, DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read). I was entranced and engaged by each and every poem, laughing, thinking and nodding in approval. Reading this book today recreates in me a sense of wonder and excitement from my youth.
- Find yourself a waterslide and slip-slide away! It doesn't have to be some scary death drop. It can even be more of a lazy river. The point is to slide, water splashing on your face, dunking you into a final pool of water. That sensation is one that can momentarily take you away from the stresses of your grown-up world and slide you back to simpler, easier time.
- Listen to your favorite 10-year-old, Top 40 song. It is easy now with iTunes. Search for your song in the iTunes library, buy it and get it on your device. Fast. I have fond memories of my white, Formica clock radio. I would sit by it for hours listening to the music on my station, 99X. In fact, I even spent a good year answering our telephone, "99X is my radio station," because of a promotion the station ran. Back then I had to wait for hours until my favorite song played. Now, with one touch it's playing on my phone. So, while not the best song ever written, listening to The Streak, by Ray Stevens, is guaranteed to make me smile and brings me back my green bedroom and white Formica clock radio.
- Get yourself some pink cotton candy and let it melt on your tongue! As the author of Poems on Fruits & Odes to Veggies -- Where Healthy Eating Starts With a Poem, this may sound like a strange suggestion, as cotton candy is not even a remotely healthy food choice -- heck, is it even a food? But you don't have to eat the whole thing. I doubt you could anyway. But just the melting sensation of sugar on your tongue can do the trick of bringing you back, for one brief moment, to your days of carnivals and circuses and festivals; days that have melted away, much like the sugar on your tongue.
- And finally this one is more of a don't than a do but: Don't do laundry. Don't do dishes. And absolutely don't pay bills. Naturally, this is a short-term thing, but there is nothing like throwing a load of stinky, smelly sports clothes and wet towels picked up off the bathroom floor, into the washing machine, that can reverse the momentary benefits provided by the above five youth-graspers.