Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Joy of Youth

The other day while walking in the park, Molly and I were passed by a young lady all of two or three years old. She was being chased by her somewhat older sister in the unseasonable warmth of the day. Her sister would catch up to her and she would stop. Then she would give the most mischievous grin to all around, look at her sister and grin even harder, then take off toddling at break neck speed once more, looking back over her shoulder with a look of pure joy.

This tableau continued for the next 20 minutes or more. Each time Molly and I came to that end of the park, the two girls were playing tag while their parents sat at a picnic table.

Seeing that motion induced look of radiant joy on the little girls face actually made me a bit jealous. It was clear the whole process of motion and the freedom it brings was new and brought nothing but pleasure to her. So why did I feel the twinge of the green eyed monster? Because she was still young and inexperienced enough not to have concerns about falling and running into things? Because she hadn't experienced the aches and pains of life? Because she didn't hurt too much to enjoy running and twirling? Because the simple pleasure of running and twirling and playing with her sister filled her entire being with joy, unfettered by fear or thought or experience? Maybe it was all of the above as I remembered those feelings with envy.

In the end I left the park smiling. The little girl and her reminder to me of the joy engendered by simple things left me smiling, just because it is impossible not to be infected by the unfettered joy of youth. May you find your joy and smile too.

(Pictures courtesy of the University of New Hampshire archive.)


  1. So was the timing of me reading this purposely timed with an insanely ridiculous grown-up temper-tantrum of mine?

  2. I can understand your feelings of envy. Whenever I watch E run around, laughing and playing, I feel a twinge of jealousy at her carefree attitude. Unlike me, she has not yet experienced the pains of growing up and having to become a responsible adult. She is still free to just enjoy life and let others worry about the logistics of things for her.

    However, watching her be so free and happy also makes me happy because I know that I'm the reason why she can be that way. To know that I have done well in raising her such that she doesn't live in fear or loneliness is a pretty good feeling too.

  3. Yes, indeed. That's why holidays are such a delight. You see that joy and exuberance in the faces of children.


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