Taboo No More

Sunday night, my friend Wendy and I went on a whirlwind Christmas shopping expedition. ¬†As we finished two intense hours and were heading home, Wendy asked if I would mind stopping briefly at K-Mart. ¬†She said she gets many stocking stuffers and gag gifts there each year, but often forgets to go there until she’s been everywhere else first. I don’t frequent K-Mart regularly myself, but I didn’t mind stopping.

As we wandered down one of the wide “center” aisles, filled with special gift items, I happened to see a gift box of Tabu — the scent I wore and loved throughout college. ¬†The gift box came with a spray bottle of cologne, a small purse-sized bottle and a tube of scented lotion for the amazing price tag of…wait for it…$9.90.

Me: ¬†I didn’t even know they still made this stuff! ¬†I wore this all the way through college. ¬†I used to love it!

Wendy: ¬†Then you have to buy it, an early Christmas present for yourself! ¬†Come on, you can’t beat the price!

Me: ¬†It probably stinks. ¬†I would guess that what I liked at 19 isn’t the same as what I like thirty years later!

Wendy: ¬†No, you’ll probably still love it! ¬†Come one, you have to get it.

And so I left K-Mart, the proud owner of the Tabu gift set. ¬†And guess what? ¬†I have been wearing it ever since, and…I smell goooood. ¬†I smell like carnations, and spice, and a little powder in addition to young, hopeful, and idealistic. ¬†I thought my tastes had taken me into more sophisticated sensory territory back in graduate school when I discovered Perry Ellis perfume. ¬†But I guess I have always been a Tabu girl masquerading as a designer scent profile!

This has led me to wonder what other “childish” likes or pursuits I’ve given up in the name of maturity but should reconsider now. ¬†As you know, I’ve already gone back to biking as a favorite pastime, and a couple of years ago I discovered that I still enjoy roller skating. ¬†But what else did I decide, prematurely, I was too sophisticated, too sua-vee, too plain OLD for? ¬†Here is a partial list I’d like to check out now, and see how they fare:

  • Strawberry soda pop. ¬†Sickeningly sweet or deliciously decadent?
  • Yarn crafts: macrame, God’s-eyes, crochet squares that somehow never got sewn into an afghan.
  • Cheesy made-for-television Christmas movies. ¬†OK, who am I kidding, I never gave these up! ¬†ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas and FaLaLaLa Lifetime fight for my viewership nightly every December.
  • Driving around the countryside on hot summer nights, windows down, music blaring (will it be the same if the music isn’t playing on an 8-track tape?).
  • “Russian” Tea. ¬†An instant tea and Tang concoction. ¬†Hmmmm…
  • Bonfire, guitars and folk singing on the “beach” (using the term loosely for a sandbar along the Mississippi River).

As is the case for most people, I think, I was in a hurry to grow up — or at least to appear grown up to the rest of the world. ¬†“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me” (1¬†Corinthians) was a credo I took seriously. ¬†I never wanted people to think of me as childish, so I was quick to monitor my choices for what they communicated about my level of maturity. ¬†This bible verse talks about taking up adult responsibilities and mature thought processes, definitely important for all. ¬†However, as in all things, a balance is called for. ¬† “And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ ” says Matthew 18:3. ¬†The balance between these two good admonitions is what I am seeking in my life now.

When I was in college, there were numerous silly things we did to amuse ourselves. ¬†Last summer, I had a small reunion with several friends, and we resurrected our “snapping turtle” skills (see photo, below). ¬†I can’t tell you (because I’ve never known) how this started or why, but we laughed so hard attempting the snapping turtle faces, 25+ years out of practice, that I realized it is time to stop worrying about appearing childish or foolish – and to start reveling in it! ¬†Sincere enjoyment in the moment is childlike, not childish, and hits that lovely balance I’m seeking.

Now, how about it?  Anyone for a strawberry soda Рmy treat!