Possibly one of my most memorable Christmas memories is waking up to an ocean of gifts in the living room. And I don’t use the term “ocean” lightly. My brother and I had to literally wade through the presents to make our way to the couch. And don’t even get me started on the tsunami of ripped up wrapping paper that shortly ensued.
But the most significant thing I remember is being happy. Sure, the only reason I was happy was because of the new Barbies, the new Barbie convertible and new Barbie accessories, as well as the new bike, the pile of new clothes and the fact that I didn’t have school for another two weeks. Still, I was genuinely happy.
Now that I’m much older, the holidays have sort of lost their glitz. Sure I’m happy to open presents with my family, but a lot of the charm of past Christmases has all but faded.
Where has all that selfish superficial childhood happiness gone, and why is it so hard to come by these days? A-ha, it’s all about simplicity.
We just need to simplify our lives in order to rekindle that joy we used to feel when we heard the ice cream truck coming down the street. To this day, every time I hear that familiar “Pop Goes the Weasel” jingle approaching I can’t help but smile.
I even get the urge to yell “Stop!” from my bedroom window just for kicks and giggles. Who would have thought something so juvenile could bring so much delight to my busy, stressful college life.
Even lunchtime during my elementary school days brought an unmatched happiness to my young existence. Toting around my Hello Kitty lunch sack to the cafeteria like I was a big deal, and then opening it up to find that mom had packed the good bag of chips; the kind of chips that held real value during the snack-time trade.
From then on I knew it was going to be a good day because I was surprised. I didn’t expect such a treat, so it meant more. We as adults should really not expect too much from life, that way we are all pleasantly surprised once in awhile.
If something as mundane as a bag of chips can bring such untainted rapture to a young kid’s life, it should be able to do the same for someone in their 20s. So go out, buy a pack of individually bagged chips and let loose. At least now, for many of us, the small, hardly satisfying, bag can be enjoyed with a nice cold one.
But speaking of letting loose, I remember when the only thing I had to worry about after school was being first in line to play tetherball. Oh, tetherball, the sport of champions, I think.
Watching that ugly yellow ball attached to a rope wind its way around what can only be described as a poor man’s stripper pole. Perfection. And then, beating that one schoolyard jerk who used all the underhanded tricks in the book to win. Ah, the glory days.
Imagine if playing a game of tetherball could solve every conflict we ever had, both professional and personal. Job promotions decided by the rope, relationships started or ended by a single serve. Simple and yet so exciting.
Evoking every ounce of childhood happiness is, as I’ve stressed before, simple. We’ve all made living day-to-day so unnecessarily complicated that we forget about all the little things that once made us happy.
We’ve all survived without cell phones, laptops, Facebook and even cars before. We should all just throw on a pair of footie-pajamas, pour ourselves a huge bowl of Lucky Charms and crash out on the couch to watch Saturday morning cartoons.
I can guarantee it will bring back a feel-good dose of nostalgia, or at least a self-pitying laugh. And one day, we just may thank ourselves that we had the nerve to do such a thing.