Eating a peach, in season, perfectly ripe, is pure magic.
But also messy.
Oh, sure, you can eat peaches before they’re ripe and they might drip less, but they’re not nearly as good. The best peaches are always messy.
Now I’ll admit it: I prefer tidy. I like the structure of a good plan. I feel good when the dishes are done and the counter is cleared. I’m easily disturbed when piles stay piles for too long.
Is that an Adultitis-fueled trait? Perhaps. But I do find that I am more present, relaxed, and creative when clutter and chaos are minimized. In general, I don’t think it’s a terrible trait to have. And I don’t believe that an Adultitis-free life is one that disregards any sense of order.
But I still remember the day we let our oldest daughter take control of her own ice cream cone for the first time. It was a beautiful Madison summer afternoonand we were hanging out at the Memorial Union, overlooking picturesque Lake Mendota. We braved the super-duper-long line for ice cream and figured thatrather than micromanage each lick, we’d give Lucy full reign over her Zanzibar Chocolate ice cream cone.
Kim handed it to her, and she gave a look of surprise and wonderment that appeared to say, “Are you serious?”
After getting assurance that she was on her own, Lucy dove right in, her hazel eyes shining with joy. She licked. She smiled. She concentrated. She beamed. And she ended up with the cutest brown goatee I ever did see.
Eventually, a tourist from Asia came over and asked permission to take a photo of Lucy. Apparently, the spectacle was of international interest.
Meanwhile, the chocolate mess invaded everywhere from her nose to her toes. Her shirt and shorts were stained. The real breakthrough came when Kim, seeing the mammoth mess unfold before her very eyes, resisted every ounce of motherly urge to wrestle the cone back from our daughter. She let go of the dirty shirt, the stickyfingers, and the crazy sugar buzz that would be left behind.
She let it all go.
Later, she coined a great saying:
Never let making a mess get in the way of making a memory.
I would like to offer a moment of silence for Lucy’s tank top. Several washesand stain-stick treatments later, it was unable to be revived and ended up in the trash bin of history. That’s okay, though; we’ve decided that we’d much rather have the memories of that moment than the shirt.
Memories like these are waiting in the wings all the time.
A fan named Jean once wrote to me, “When I see a mud puddle, I step around it. I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets. My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross, and worms to play with.” I think we need to take a cue from kids and see the messes in our lives in a new light.
Sometimes budgets get blown and well-made plans go poof. Sometimes grass stains are inevitable and torn jeans are unavoidable.
Sometimes eggs get broken, milk gets spilled, and the kitchen gets dusted in a fine layer of flour.
Sometimes a scaled-down replica of the Wisconsin State Fair takes over an entire bedroom for several days.
Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we planned, expected, or even hoped.
The most direct route is rarely the most scenic, and sometimes wrong turns can lead to the best discoveries.
Adventures are rarely tidy.
Sometimes the best memories arise from the biggest messes.
This is an excerpt from A Chance of Awesome: How Changing the Way You See Changes Everything. It’s about making everything in your life better by strengthening the habit of shifting your perspective. It’s filled with Jason’s colorful artwork and witty anecdotes. Get your copy here.