Remember alphabet soup?
I ask you to remember because the last time you had it probably wasn’t yesterday, or last week. It may have been a decade or four.
Something about alphabet soup brings out a sense of wonder and curiosity in us as kids. We stir it around to see if any secret messages emerge randomly, like a vegetable fueled Ouiji board. We use our spoon to carefully arrange our own words, spell our name, a simple sentence, or maybe a dirty word…Just me?
But then we outgrow alphabet soup. Why?
Are we afraid our sophistication will be challenged? That we’ll be considered immature? That people won’t take us seriously?
in a seemingly unrelated note, it’s impossible for me to see an airplane and not think of my father-in-law Gary. He loves airplanes. He used to drag his wife and four daughters to air shows. Their reviews of the regular excursions are mixed, but one thing was constant: it was always an opportunity for Gary’s inner child to soar.
I had the pleasure of attending the Oshkosh Airshow with him a few years ago. According to him, it’s the Super Bowl of air shows. He may have technically been sixty at the time, but it seemed more like he was six. His passion for airplanes has never faded.
Recently, he took my kids to watch sky divers jump out of planes and land safely a few feet from them on the ground. You might think he wanted to share a passion with his grandkids. You’d be partly right, but let’s be honest, it didn’t really matter if there was anyone else around. It was merely an excuse to indulge in a little bit of wonder.
When we are kids, we are drawn to wonder, and there are so many things that light us up and get us excited.
Too often, like our declining consumption of alphabet soup, we neglect or hide the things that light us up.
Maybe it’s because we are afraid our sophistication will be challenged. Or that we’ll be considered immature. Or that people won’t take us seriously.
There is a phrase we often use: guilty pleasures. They are things we enjoy but feel guilty for dong so. Usually there is no real reason we should feel guilty, it’s just that they threaten our carefully-curated likes and dislikes that fit in with the people we associate with or want respect from.
I’m with Dave Grohl, lead singer of the Foo Fighters, who said, “F*¢K guilty pleasures.” Like what you like. If you like Britney Spears, like Britney Spears.
Embrace your guilty pleasures. Find what lights you up and love it. Reconnect with the passions that get your inner child fired up and own them.
Never outgrow your sense of wonder.