Patrick….As a Boy
October 11th, 2017 - By Patrick T. McBriarty
At times being a little kid does not seem so long ago. I was curious, loved to play, and lucky to make friends easily.
One of my earliest memories is of running through the backyards of my neighborhood in Normal, Illinois (really that was the name of the town) to visit a friend and sprinting backyard to another and another just because I could. It was the beginning of a beautiful summer day that seemed to hold endless opportunities. School was out, sunny, and warm I could feel the grass and the cool morning dew under my bare feet as I dashed along, both excited and afraid of stepping on a bee in the clover. Still ran anyway with the twinge of fear spurring me on with quick inspecting glances at the ground ahead. Yet still running an at times with pure abandon as fast as I could because it felt so good to fly across the grassy yards. The excitement was simply too great to contain. Running seemed to be the best way to express and enjoy this perfect summer morning that held so much possibility and promise. I am sure at the time I could not have described this feeling as well, but the joy of bare feet on grass, the crisp clean air, and sense of freedom was too good to ignore. Hopefully that feeling will never leave me. The energy, like uncorking a bottle as the foam rushes out, after I stepped out the back door of our house the endless possibilities and energy of that summer day compelled me to run, just for fun.
I sometimes have similar feelings while writing about bridges or other things, when all the pieces seem to fit together (after a lot of work), and an idea, project, or book comes together. That feeling of excitement bubbling up inside like a shaken soda can is a thrill we should all keep in our hearts. The thrill of pure joy, success, and that anything is possible excites the good little kid in all of us, no matter what age. The fun, energy, and assurance what you are doing right then and there is just what you were meant to be doing just now feels right. AND you are the best and only person to express it–whatever that is. For it is just so right and so strong you must seize the chance and paint or write, build, hug someone, or run through the grass just to feel the air rush by.
It is my hope kids everywhere will find and keep this feeling to always remember that excitement, thrill, and joy of being alive. As we grow up, change, and learn it is hoped that feeling is never lost.
We should all find activities, friends, and pursuits that create a feeling of self worth, strength, and joy! Some people say it is following your passions — whatever that is. To me it is just this feeling inside wanting to discover, to ask what if and then find out despite the challenges. What if I can make this happen? What if I try and build this idea? Why not make this work? Ignore the fears, thoughts that the work will be too hard — because in the process of working it out and along the way new things will be discovered. And even if it doesn’t turn out as expected, the hard work is always worth it — not for the end result, although that too can be amazing — but for the journey of learning and seeing what will happen, created, or built and that may uncover an even better purpose, idea, or project.
Chase the ideas that thrill you, despite what other people think or say. Try something new and different. Exploring is just plain good to do, and it helps create a better, stronger, and smarter you. What does the happy little kid inside you feel is cool, fun, or exciting to do next? You never know what you will learn and become along the way.