I have been smiling a lot lately watching my daughter Clara, who is nine, roller blade. All of my kids roller blade, but Clara does it the most. She puts her hair up in a side pony tail, straps on her helmet, and breezes off, acting like there are no cares in the world; only joy, freedom, and fun.
Lately she has been inviting me to roller blade too. The first time she asked, I quickly agreed. I was inspired! I went to the garage to find my roller blades. After digging deep in the sports equipment bin, I found them. I had to brush a few layers of dust off of them, but they looked pretty good despite the lack of recent wear.
While whizzing ungracefully across the sidewalk with Clara, I realized how much I used to love roller blading as a kid. I have scars on my knees to prove it, too! Clara and I agreed that roller blading feels like flying, albeit over pavement, and it invokes such a free feeling.
Kids never forget to squeeze in fun moments, even on busy days. While I can’t always take time to roller blade with Clara when she asks, I have been trying to say yes as much as possible. I figure she might not be asking me very much in the future.
On days when I do tell Clara I can roller blade with her, it is great leverage to get her to finish school work faster! When the books are put away, we go out together and soak up some autumn sunshine.
While thinking of how much I used to enjoy roller blading as a kid, I was reminded of a blog post I once read. The post was written by Gretchen Rubin on the subject of happiness. She wrote that to be happy, you have to have a certain level of self-knowledge. You need to understand what you particularly enjoy doing for work and play.
It’s so hard sometimes, as adults, to know what we truly enjoy doing, because we have lost sight of that in the midst of all the responsibilities.
According to Rubin, “A great question to ask yourself is, ‘What did you do for fun when you were ten years old?’ Because what you did for fun when you were ten years old is probably very much something you would enjoy now, adapted for being an adult.”
It’s interesting to think about. It also explains why roller blading with Clara gives me such a thrill.
I had completely forgotten that my ten-year-old self loved this activity. If I hadn’t had a kid of my own to remind me, maybe I would never have rediscovered this particular pleasure!
What did you enjoy doing when you were ten years old? Was it coloring, exploring in the woods, building things? Do you have a child who might enjoy doing it with you?
Maybe it’s worth trying to eke out some time to do that thing—whatever it was—that you really enjoyed when you were ten.
We spend a lot of time teaching our kids. They teach us too. I’m glad nine-year-old Clara taught me to remember what I enjoy and to play more. It’s been great fun.
I think it’s important for our kids to see us play, too.
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka’ all other images courtesy of Amy Koons.