As a child, I was enchanted with Julia Andrews’ rousing rendition of “My Favorite Things.” When I was upset or afraid, I would often hum the chorus: “When the dog bites / When the bee stings / When I’m feeling sad / I simply remember my favorite things / And then I don’t feel so bad.” Images of the VonTrapp children wrapped up in Maria’s old curtains and cuddling in her feather quilt comforted me in an inexplicable sort of way.
As an adult, I haven’t changed much. I still catch myself singing the lines “Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes / Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes / Silver white winters that melt into springs / These are a few of my favorite things.” I wonder how long it has been, however, since most of us have evaluated what is on our “favorite things” list.
My mother and I have been discussing this very question recently, and analyzing what pursuits help us to not “feel so bad.” I feel that it is a curious phenomenon that overtakes most grown-ups – at first glance, most of us can’t come up with our favorite things list. Children, on the other hand, can immediately name a plethora of activities that fill them with delight – going to the park, playing dress-up, baking cookies, eating cookies, sprinkling glitter on every conceivable object, playing baseball, playing tag, water balloon fights, food fights, coloring, watching movie scenes over and over again, enacting movie scenes over and over again, visiting the zoo, visiting Grandma’s . . . the list could go on an on.
What is it then about adulthood that causes us to forget the activities that ground us, recharge us, refuel us for the days and weeks ahead? Do we somehow “outgrow” our need for mindless relaxation and merriment? I think not. I would venture to say that at least in my own life I have let my responsibilities overshadow my sense of adventure. I let my to-dos fill up my hours rather than take a backseat role to what is truly important in my life. Maybe, you can relate to the situation that I all too often find myself wading through. If we paused and took a few moments to recreate the lines to “My Favorite Things,” what would our new song lyrics say?
Mine might go something like this . . . Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens / Bright sunny days and warm reading nooks / Rich cups of coffee and dark bits of chocolate / These are a few of my favorite things . . .