I honestly was not a happy child. I still think the stork left me in the wrong house. I had terrific parents and great relatives, but struggled to fit into what was an extremely religious environment and being in the public eye. Every action I took out of line was thrown back in my dad's face. Anonymity was desirous - one reason I am amused to be the editor of a magazine with a public persona. I'm really not very good at the public persona part, in fact am horrible with names and faces, but love writing enough to stick it out with what I hope is a measure of grace.
So back to "gallivant." The best thing I ever did in life was have 3 kids. Perhaps having 3 in 3-1/2 years was not the best choice, but hey, I was almost 30 when I married. Definitely a stressed mum in many ways as I tried to handle it all, but the kids were amazing. They gave me a chance to have a childhood, just at a later age. We watched every Disney movie or family movie that came out. All of us read the comics for many years until they became too sophisticated. I created a Slip-N-Slide mega ride by tacking a large sheet of heavy plastic at the bottom of the slide and covering it all with water and soap. WHHHHEEEE!!!
Imagination was rampant and highly encouraged. We took dandelion seed balls and reinvented them as star makers. None were immediate artist so we drew on paper and made crafts while camping. The best???? Masks made using rolls of gauze infused with dry plaster - the basis of the old style cast. We lined up all the kids that wanted to participate, greased their faces with Vaseline and then built the masks one wet plaster strip at a time. After drying overnight they were able to paint them the next day. My daughter many years later used this technique to make a real looking cast for Halloween and wore it to school, getting everyone sign it. At the end of the day she pulled it off and laughed.
Exploration was encouraged. Every day when they were young was an alley walk stopping to check out whatever was of interest or to sample the ripening blackberries. If I got lost driving them it was an adventure. I always encouraged them to jump from that slightly higher spot, to believe in themselves without limits. I would love to say it was all wonderful, but a horrible problem with bullying slowly sucked the life out their confidence and my spirit as we went along. My daughter managed to keep her happy, adventurous spirit, but the two boys had a tougher time and tend to be more structured. I still believe that those early lesson in gallivanting are hiding deep inside. Hopefully if they chose to have a family, that hidden nature will peek out to welcome their children.
What I miss most as the kids grew up was that care free spirit and I hated the life limits that slowly put boundaries on their imagination. The definition I like from Merriam-Webster for gallivant is - "to travel, roam, or move about for pleasure." That's the way I want to move through life. I want to travel to interesting placing, roam through my day finding new experiences and most of all, move about my life without limits.
As I close the door on this year's print collectible, my mind turns to the next 12 months and what I want most to focus on is happiness. Embedded in that one word is so many goals. It's not about experiencing constant joy, it's about knowing I'm doing exactly what I was meant to do and not worrying about the other small annoyances that come along. It's about experiencing the good and bad that come along with living the way that feels right without regrets. It's about enjoying the trip. Time to let go of the weights we all carry on our backs. Time to free ourselves to live more responsive to the surprises that enter our lives each day. Life should be a gallivant in all senses of the word.
Today I challenge you to do something unexpected. And most of all enjoy it!
P.S. - This last picture is here for one reason only. It brings to mind fairies, The Wizard of Oz and more. Everytime I look at it I'm inspired. I don't know who conceived and built these unique tree houses but my kudos to them. I would love to shake your hand.