When I was a kid, all I ever wanted was to be an adult so I could do all of those adult things. The moment I became one, I realized all of those things weren’t as cool as I thought they were. I’m sure we’ve all run into bits of adulting that are nothing short of boring, if not tedious. And worse, that very sensible adult often does things in a drab and predictable fashion. As much as I always try to listen to my inner child, my adult mind can make something like panting pandas rather tough. What appears to be very black and white, isn’t the case at all. Little Charlie picks up on this immediately, but my adult brain is often slow to catch up. When it came time to choose crayons as a kid, I would just make a grab for a handful and simply see what I could make with them. That was so incredibly fun! Often, as an adult, I catch myself worrying about whether I’m choosing the “right” colors. And then catch myself wondering just what the heck that even means. To me, it simply means creating a visually pleasant outcome. This could be done by making pandas pink and white instead of black and white, or, as I’ve done, just playing with those lovely colors in the shadows that my inner child pointed out to me.
Though I talk about it often, maintaining a since of play in life can be rather challenging. Some days, I think I’m being “crazy and fun” and then I step back and realize I’m not doing anything all that different after all. I’m not really taking any chances. Then I thought back to when I was a kid and wondered why I took all those chances and risks that I did back then. It occurred to me that the reason was quite simple. I simply didn’t know the difference. When I was acting silly, people assumed it was okay because I was a kid after all. But, if I act like that as an adult, I’m considered to be childish. A description I really don’t mind and rather adore, but it’s usually corrected to “childlike” so that it sounds a bit better in mixed company. But I like the idea of not being like an actual child, I’m nearing 50 for goodness sakes, but simply being a bit child-ish. Kind of like a child, at least, in the open way that I approach things and my almost insanely optimistic sense of hope. And that’s why, as I grow old, I’m quite content with not ever quite being a grown up. The latter is perfectly optional.
Each time I struggle with a sketch or an idea for work, I play around with ideas a bit and think of the silliest things I could do next. That thing that only a kid with a crayon would come up with. Sometimes, I actually chase that thought through to completion, but all of the time, it opens up a new space in my head and heart that makes me more creative. Sure, my relationship isn’t always rosy with my inner child. Last night, as I was trying to sleep, he jostled me awake to scream, “oh my gosh! oh my gosh! We have to try this! It’s such a cool idea!!” I then lay there for an hour, unable to get back to sleep. But, it was such a gleeful hour as I brought that idea to life in my head. If no idea if that idea will manifest itself, but for me, that’s not always the point. The very act of spinning through ideas and dreams is something wonderful all by itself. At least, I used to believe that was the case when I was a kid. So, I spend each day quietly reminding myself that those moments of dreaming are all part of the grand journey. A very important part as it turns out. And pausing to make a quick little sketch of pandas was a lovely reminder of the joys that come from never growing up.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Leaf Green, Vermillion, and Indigo Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!