Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2010

Acting on spur-of-the-moment ideas preserves youth, energy

 It was reckless abandonment. Well, maybe more like calculated impulsiveness.

Jumping in the pool fully clothed, I mean.

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I was hot, sweaty, dirty and disgusted. The Weedeater was acting up again and I couldn’t finish the dreaded yard work. So as I walked past the swimming pool I glanced over at the gleaming cool water and thought, “That will cool me off physically and mentally.”

Giving up my reserved nature for a moment and deciding to indulge myself, I jumped in. As I rose to the top I lay on my back and just floated. The dirt and grime and the frustration floated away as I lay there. After a while I opened my eyes and there were hundreds of dragonflies hovering over me like Blackhawk helicopters on a reconnaissance mission. They were exquisite. Their golden wings shone in the midday sun like topaz stones.

They circled me for a long while as I just lay there cooling and relaxing. What a treat.

Finally cooled off I came to my scant senses and climbed out regretting that I choose not to be impulsive more often. I will work on that, I promise myself.

In one’s youth the scale tips toward spontaneity more than reserve. Young people don’t have the wisdom of years that temper impulses. But the awareness of time and wisdom brings with it a myriad of fears. The more years I have behind me the more I’m aware of the ones in front of me.

It was 7:30 am Friday morning and I was preparing to go back out in the summer heat for more chores. The phone rang. I was sure it was Zac calling to spend the night. I had reminded him to call early in order to catch me before I got too busy.

But on the other end of the call was Dear Don. “Something at the plant blew up,” he says, “we are off for the day. Start packing because we are going to the coast.”

So much for chores. I quickly hung up and began to pack for a three-day weekend in Biloxi. Talk about impulsiveness!

By the time he got home I had everything under control. We would only need to shower and pack the car before we could take off.

By early afternoon we were checking into our hotel room right across from the beach. It was a beautiful day and though we were tired from the drive we were excited to start our adventure.

The three days went by too quickly but we were able to make every moment count.

The beaches were white and beautiful but nearly empty. Cleanup crews were working in sections to remove the oil from pools that settled close to the beach. There were lots of dead jellyfish trapped in the pools.

The hotels were sold out and the mall and restaurants were more crowded than the media would have you believe.

Sunday morning came quickly and we headed north after breakfast.

We stopped at several produce stands and antique shops along Highway 49 and finally arrived home relaxed and content.

Being spontaneous is not a trait to give up as you age; it is what keeps us youthful and energetic.

Now we are back to the real world and work and laundry and vacuuming and the ever-growing grass and weeds. But just like spontaneity gives us energy, work gives us purpose.

You get the picture.

(Contact award-winning columnist Sherry Hopkins at