Yesterday I wrote about incorporating the ritual of smudging into our New Year. The other New Year tradition I’ve adopted is picking out a word for the year, as opposed to setting a resolution. Some years the word has served as a touchstone, reminding me of a value or quality I wanted to better embody; some years I forgot my word by March. Either way, it never has the sense of failure associated with it that an unfulfilled resolution always had.
For 2016, my word is Mischief. As the mother of a one-year-old and three-year-old, I feel like I spend large portions of my life surrounded by (or, let’s be honest, cleaning up after) mischief. It comes naturally to them, like breathing. Unrolling the toilet paper, lying in wait for you with a light saber, trotting around the house in the high heels that I never wear anymore. It’s not something they have to consciously cultivate. It’s a natural result of the curiosity that abounds in toddlers and preschoolers. (As I write this, I’m having to take breaks to help my toddler set up the plastic “blaster” on his Star Wars toy so that he can walk across the room and then “blast” me with it.)
I don’t know when exactly we lose it. Obviously, some adults hold onto it better than others. But somewhere along the way, most of us become bogged down by more serious responsibilities, and we feel like we don’t have time for mischief anymore. I certainly feel that way.
But I miss it. I miss the joy and wonder that accompany following your curiosity, even if it bends the rules a bit. So, as I move forward into 2016, I’ll be trying to reconnect with my mischievous side, the side that so delighted in water balloon ambushes and hiding snappers behind my dad’s tires. It won’t help my house get cleaner, but it just might help my little family be happier. Wish me luck.