little girl painting outside

Damn the practical

Dear Adeline,

Focus. Intention. Peaceful creativity. Bright red, white, green, blue – you swirl and mix these colors with intensity. You cock your head as you deftly graze your canvas with a kaleidoscope paintbrush.

Then you go all in and you smash your hands into your creation, swirling the colors into indistinguishable shades. Distracted, you pause to relish the squishy sensation of the paint as it squirms through your fingers.

Next, you push a boundary. You glance my way and stroke your azure hands across the seat of the wicker chair. I snap a “nope” and you immediately stop; back to the canvas and a rock I hadn’t noticed before. That poor rock has been the recipient of your creative storms on more than one occasion, and it shows.


Adeline, you blast through creative boundaries. The purity of your paint session is breathtaking. There are no rules, no right, and no wrong. It’s just you, the paint, and crackling potential.

As I get older, I can’t shake the notion that the path to wisdom is found in recapturing certain childlike behavior. It’s letting go of the cynic and diving into the moment with the intensity and abandonment of a toddler.

It’s hard though; Instagram, email, what’s for dinner, deadlines, bills, insurance, Twitter, text messages, calendars, party planning, home repair, car issues, The Walking Dead, The Bachelor, vacations, vaccinations, blogposts, software updates, weeds, lawns, commutes, raises, 401ks, stock options, job titles, business ideas – these wage fierce war against presence, against the pursuit of wisdom.

We juggle these things and call ourselves mature. I fear this is not maturity. Our crushing schedules are just distractions that creates a false sense of importance. We boast at our lack of space. Then, when space comes, we fill it with noisemakers – the internet, social media, anything to keep the deafening sound of silence at bay. We don’t have time to squish paint between our fingers just because it feels nice. That would be silly and unproductive.

This is foolishness, not wisdom.


When was the last time I fully engaged in an activity with the childlike manner that you display with such ease? How do I even begin? There I go again being an adult. Why try to plan? I should just jump in like you do.

Damn the practical.

Damn the consequences.

To hell with the “right way.”

Damn all the noise.

Let’s squish paint in our fingers and smear it on rocks, then find out what it smells like.

I love you.


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