Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Jaded Excitement

I remember opening my eyes just after 6 a.m. one Christmas; the house had a slight chill as I stuck my foot out from under the warm snuggly Holly Hobby bedspread. The day was just beginning to open its eyes in that time between night and day when all is quiet and still. As I lay there—absolutely dying to get out of bed to see what Santa had left me—little butterflies danced all around in my tummy even though I knew full well I had to wait a least a couple more hours to open presents? I quietly got up, stole out to the living room and lifted my stocking off the lamp where it hung. No one was awake, even the dog had grudgingly opened one only eye before sighing and curling tighter into a ball. I took my stocking back into my bedroom and then into the bathroom where I sat down on the cold tile floor and proceeded to inspect every single item at least twice. Overcome with the excitement of it all, I then practiced my “surprise” face in the mirror for when I would officially receive my gifts with the rest of the family.

Remember those butterflies at Christmas? Remember the fluttering, somewhat sinking-feeling in the pit of your stomach when you had your very first “date?” Holding his/her hand was the most euphoric experience—not to mention the thought of kissing. Every first day of school was a “butterfly day” for me as was every birthday, Christmas, first snow, family vacation, and generally, anything that might have been construed as out-of-the-ordinary. I can remember being so excited about leaving for our family vacation that I got dressed the night before, slept in my clothes in a sleeping bag on the floor all so that I could shave a little time off of getting ready the next morning. (Wish I could do that now!)

Why, as an adult, are there far fewer times when those proverbial butterflies dance around in your stomach than when you were a child? Once we become adults the little things once thrilling seem to lose the ability to bring us much pleasure. Now it seems those butterflies appear only when we are at the precipice of something edgy, scary or tempting—something not usually in our best interest. Our adult butterflies have become jaded. They have seen many, many Christmases, birthdays, “firsts”, and so now those butterflies lie dormant, their attitude blasé. I guess the question then becomes how do we awaken them without the impending damage?


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