While I was running on the treadmill the other day, I watched part of the Little League World Series. The players were all 11, 12, and 13-year old boys – kids who, for the most part, looked very serious. They acted like grown-ups. And in fact, what they were doing was serious business – they were playing on ESPN and supposedly major league players were taking a break from their day to watch the game. It was a big deal. I imagined that I’d be watching these kids in the baseball big leagues in 10 years (or less). Except… and there’s that important except.
When something went really wrong or really right, you could tell they were kids. When one boy struck out, I felt his disappointment at my core. It was written all over his face and his posture. I wanted to give him a big hug and tell him he’d done a great job and still had plenty more at bats. I didn’t want to see him crushed by this (admittedly big) one moment in his childhood. On the other hand, one little boy’s smile and his excitement just floored me. It was impossible not to root for him (and really, each and every one of these kids), when he got excited. That big, wide smile broke out and you felt like dancing.
In fact, there was one kid who was dancing. They showed clips of him from throughout the series. Apparently he had started dancing at a number of points during the tournament. He’d dance after he made a catch; he’d dance when he got to home plate and scored a run. And it appeared it was always a different dance. While I watched, a sportscaster interviewed him and asked him about his dancing. She asked if he had more dances planned to show the crowd. His response was that he didn’t know – that the dancing just came out. I was charmed. Isn’t that how it is? When we’re happy, the dancing just comes out. But the response from the announcers in the booth was different. They chuckled and one said, “I guess sometimes, when you’re a kid, you just have to be kind of goofy!”
I’ve thought a lot about this since I heard it. Just one sentence, and yet, so much meaning. I felt like the announcer was saying that being goofy was great, as long as you were a kid. Honestly, that upset me. It is my opinion that we should all be goofy. It is my opinion that doing a silly dance when we’re happy should not just be in the province of children, and also that doing a silly dance when we’re happy shouldn’t be something at which we chuckle. No, I’d rather we laugh, we smile, we join in, we congratulate the dancing person for so candidly exhibiting joy, and we learn. I’d rather we choose to model the childlike enthusiasm that makes it ok for kids to dance when they’re happy. I’d rather we were ok with everyone dancing when they’re happy. Or being silly to cheer ourselves or others up. Or being goofy just because. In fact, especially just because. Because sometimes, when you’re human, you just have to be kind of goofy.
This also reminded me of a few of my very best friends. Collectively we are a very educated bunch, working in professional jobs. It is easy to fall into our routines of work, chores, and other responsibilities. And when we do, we can all tell we’re less happy. There’s not enough joy in our lives. So we remind each other that it is important to jump in puddles. Have dinner together in our pajamas. Wear costumes for things like International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th!). One of these friends gave me Play-Doh for my 30th birthday. She pointed out that we can be responsible without having to grow up. She was also saying that sometimes, when we’re human, we just have to be kind of goofy.
I hope that you follow the whims of your heart today (and every day). I hope that sometimes, since you’re human, you be a little goofy. Feel like singing? Do it. Feel like dancing a silly dance? Do it. Feel like wearing an elephant hat? Do it. Feel like grabbing a friend and spinning faster and faster until you fall down, feel sick, and both can’t stop laughing? I can highly recommend it. It doesn’t matter what age you are; goofy is always in fashion.
If you’re having trouble re-finding your goofiness, silliness, and joy, give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7375. Aren’t sure talk therapy is for you? Some forms of play therapy with Amy Smith are appropriate for adults too – give sand tray a try! Only have time on the weekends? Come see Dr. Melissa Rojas or Risa Bos – both have weekend appointments! No matter who you see, all of our counselors have the skills and training to partner with you and the compassion and joy to help you find your passion again. We can’t wait to see what happens when your dance just comes out!
Be human; be goofy! ~Krista Bringley