Have you ever played “Popcorn”?
I did during the Christmas break. It requires a trampoline and at least two people. The more the merrier, and yes, I’m aware, more dangerous.
While watching my 20 year old and his 18 year old brother bouncing around with their youngest cousin – a 7th grader – I saw way too much fun in progress. I yearned to participate but considered the cost it might exact from me. I found myself wanting to be there – even if the three decided to disembark!
First, I logically reflected upon my recently rehabilitated ankle. I pondered the physical therapy that had gotten me to this stable season in my life. Gone were the grimaces from ankle woes that had stripped away my confident stride. Gone was my syncopated limp. In fact, it had been months since I had even considered my ankle. It was then I realized it was rather enjoying its new found healthiness. Yet my passion to pounce remained.
The kids were jumping and jostling and just having fun. I couldn’t just stand by!
Next I contemplated my successful family rollerskating adventure the day before. The annual skating episode was a rite of family time during Christmas. The rink held momentous memories – of teenaged employment, of fantastic friends who created the social nucleus of our lives, of being a shared experience most of us could still enjoy.
My confidence was high as I left mom’s house to join awaiting family at the rink. And then, she said it. The two words that caused me to cringe and re-evaluate my reasoning for this risk.
“Be careful,” she said as I left.
I guess falling down at 49 would have implications that would impair my middle school teaching. It’s hard enough to get to the five different classrooms in which I teach WITHOUT an injury.
Do I REALLY want to skate knowing the potential for pain? My heart said yes so I plowed straight ahead laughing in the face of uncertain safety. Being with my family mattered and if I did kiss the floor and become crippled, at least I’d have a good story. Besides, I was relatively sure my family would call 9-1-1 after they had finished laughing.
Buoyed by the consecutive successes mentioned above, I claimed my moment.
“My turn,” I yelled as I shed my shoes and sat in the center of the trampoline. My sons were dumbfounded and my nephew unsure how to react. I sensed a momentary hesitation but they could tell I was serious. I wasn’t budging from my criss-cross applesauce position until I had gone airborne and their jumping justified my zeal for zaniness. So the bouncing began. I landed on my right side, then my left. I found deeply stored silly screams emerge and I HAD FUN.
Why is it that we talk ourselves out of fun? Out of “playing popcorn” when circumstances dictate or NOT? I don’t know.
But I hope you think of me next time you weigh the risks because being serious is highly overrated.