Every day on my morning walk in the neighborhood, I pass by a playground. Usually, there isn't anyone there, as most kids are in school. But it’s in a nice spot on the top of a hill overlooking a large park.
Most days, I walk straight past.
But one day, not so long ago, I didn’t walk straight past. For some reason, I walked over to the swings, hopped on one, and started to swing. And you know what? That was one of the most blissful, peaceful, and joyful moments I’ve had in a long time.
It was a beautiful sunny day, everything was green around me, and every time I swung upward, I was faced with a wonderfully blue sky. I only stayed there for a few minutes, but they were a pretty special few minutes of pure joy and fun.
Today on my morning walk, I walked straight past the playground, like usual. But for the rest of the walk, I was left wondering, Why?
Why did I walk past those swings every morning, even when I’d had such a wonderful experience that one day when I’d taken the moment to stop?
Why did I pass up on this opportunity to have just a moment of peace and beauty and joy, and so many more opportunities like it each day?
There’s no reason I can’t take five minutes (even two would do the trick), to find a little unbridled joy on the swing set. What difference would it make if my 30-minute walk turned into a 35-minute walk?
The honest answer is that it wouldn’t make any different at all. Yet somehow, we usually talk ourselves into the idea that we can’t spare a minute (or two, or five) for ourselves to take a quick break from our hurried and worried lives. That we can’t take a step off of our usual route and do something different, even if just for a moment.
When I got home from my walk this morning, I was left with a simple conviction: I must swing on the swings more. I know that might sound a little silly. Swings, after all, are made for kids, not adults. But in order to be happier and more joyful in my life, I know I’ve got to take these kinds of chances to jump on a swing set. To reach out and take small moments of beauty when they present themselves. Because if I just pass by, I’m missing out.
What opportunities for small moments of joy are you passing by each day? What would happen if you stopped, and took a few minutes instead?
Whether it’s stopping and smelling the roses, or stopping and swinging at the playground, what are you going to commit to doing more of for yourself?
I know my answer: I’m going to swing on the swings more.