Boing, boing, boing.
Remember that feeling?
Boing, boing, boing.
The feeling of delight that only a bouncy castle can bring. The sheer joy of being momentarily weightless. Air beneath your feet as you float upwards, light as a feather. Higher and higher, almost as though with every bounce you got that bit closer to touching the clouds.
What a wonderful feeling. Bouncing and smiling without a care in the world. Your stomach doing mini somersaults, giddy with excitement.
What I just described, pretty much encapsulates a happy childhood for me. That childish notion of thinking you could fly if you could just jump high enough.
And then I recall the feeling of being on the bouncy castle in a crowd of kids who were older or more boisterous. Wanting to join in with their fun but being too self conscious or afraid of falling that I don’t allow myself to reach the dizzying heights of those fluffy white clouds. Always getting knocked down & unable to get back up again.
It occurs to me that this contrasting image of difficulty and wanting happiness, is a lot like adulthood, because as you get older the world around you starts to shift and things that were once easy become more difficult.
The horrors portrayed in the media and the harsh realities of everyday life, shake our confidence and the foundations on which our childhood was built.
As adults, we navigate our way through a myriad of trials and tribulations, and moments of happiness we never knew we could experience.
We strive to get jobs (and keep them), build a nice warm home, pay the bills etc. We try to find that one person out there who will look at us and think our face ain’t that bad and won’t mind when we lick our plates after dinner. Or worse.
We build friendships and make families and we lose people we love dearly to senseless diseases or in tragic accidents and have to learn how to remain in the world without them.
For all the highs and the lows, it’s hard.
Each knock is like falling over on that bouncy castle. At times getting back up is easy because we are surrounded by people we love who will help us or because we are feeling fearless and gutsy in the face of adversity.
Other times, it’s not so easy. The ground is too wobbly beneath our shaky legs. It keeps shifting. There isn’t a solid foundation. The bigger kids haven’t noticed you on the floor. Now you’re getting trampled and knocked back down each time you make another valiant attempt to right yourself.
Maybe in those times, when we’re floundering in the bouncy castle that is life, all we need to do is believe we can and will stand. We did it before. We can do it again. Or perhaps we just need to ask someone for a hand?
We’ve all fallen down on the bouncy castle before and, undoubtedly, we’ve all helped someone up. As kids we don’t give a second thought to helping fallen comrades. We just do it and carry on bouncing. Shouldn’t it be the same for us adults?
I’ve seen people who are struggling to get back up. I’ve seen the look of exhausted defeat, and where I can, I’ve helped. I offered them my hand. But sometimes people go unseen. It’s nobodies fault. You didn’t knock them down. You’re not ignoring their plight on purpose, you just didn’t see it.
Being an adult is hard. It’s not something you have any choice in, you have to grow up and it’s harder than you realised it would be all those hot summers ago, when you’re only worry in the world was missing the ice cream van. But if you’re reading this (thanks for sticking with me cos we all not what utter fluff it is) then I hope that what you take away is that it’s ok to be scared and it’s normal to fall down (repeatedly) but if we show each other kindness, learn to share, and instill in ourselves a sense of bravery (even when it’s terrifying) then we can all enjoy the bouncy castle together, like when we were five year olds.
Hopefully that analogy makes sense – sort of – and I haven’t spent an afternoon hashing out a post that sounds as though it was written by an utterly demented baboon who just learned how to use a pen? Although if we believe those clever science folks, then that’s kind of what we are, just a few steps removed, so….
Anyho! Off I pop for another go at reaching the sky.
Keep bouncing folks.