As a child, I always worried about consequences. I never took the risks that most children did. Consequently, I always felt like I was not having as much fun as my peers, and I probably was not. I did not want to draw attention to myself, get hurt, or get in trouble. I preferred to spend my time observing the world. Watching other children do daring things, and taking note of the incredible lives of ants that hung out in my back yard. I had a hard time doing things like jumping out of a swing or jumping off the high dive. Eventually I convinced myself to do simple things like that. Logically it was safe. But I never jumped off a rope swing into the river, and I never did anything too daring. In my mind, daring things always involved heights or fear of death (usually only perceived, not actual). Childhood was a serious time for me. A time full of consequences. When I got older, I started caring a bit less, but there are still times with those feelings and worry of getting into trouble come back. As an adult, I am expected to act like an adult, be responsible, and not encourage delinquency. I am not supposed to mess around and try to make up for all the fun I did not have as a child.
But sometimes I meet someone else who did the same thing in childhood, maybe in a different way, but someone who took life too seriously and now is trying to make up for lost time and fit in all in before life gets too serious.
One of these experiences was with a friend who currently is training to be a Navy SEAL. I do not know if there is anything more serious in life than that. When he came to visit before he started training, we explored the Capitol building, and for some reason, we both started feeling a bit like kids. Well, I felt like a kid, he might always feel this way. It might have been the atmosphere. It might have been that in our wandering we somehow felt like we were secretly exploring places that we should not be able to access. Perhaps it was pure mischievousness of the mind, active imaginations, and ideas of the things we could be doing or discussions of what it would have been like to be in these areas with the legislative body in session. Perhaps it was finding an unlocked window that would have allowed us to go onto the roof if we were not observant enough to realize that there were guards down below. It might have been that I have always wanted to go up in the dome of the Capitol – or at least figure out how to access the stairs that lead to the top. Whatever it was, a mischievous child-like quality took over. Fortunately or unfortunately, it was not all encompassing. Consequences remained foremost in my mind …
So, I did not get on my friend’s shoulders and open a window. We did not climb out on the roof of the Capitol. And in the midst of a great game of lava, we stopped running around the Capitol building because I saw a guard. We most definitely did not play mission impossible and jump from the first floor down to the bottom floor. But I am happy to know my imagination is still intact. I can goof around like a child, even though I am adult.