We don’t get dirty anymore.
“It’s true!” I told a friend of mine as we plopped down into the gravel behind an outdoor beach bar called The Sandlot, a temporary pop up in Baltimore that we all hoped might be a permanent fixture. A few rows of dark rocks were all that separated us from the Harbor.
The night had fallen and there was a breeze in the air that cooled our bodies and for at least a moment made the humidity disappear.
But let me back up. A friend and I planned to get together for happy hour at the SandLot (a beach style outdoor gathering spot with food and drinks). I challenged her to a game of beach volleyball and even though it was much hotter than I wanted it to be, I was not going to give in. We met up only to find that it was closed until 7pm because seriously folks it was too hot to be outside.
And somewhere over the course of roaming through Fells Point, our waterfront neighborhood with cobblestone streets, we adopted someone who was new to the area and picked up a whole crew along the way. I did a couple of my favorite things, which included margaritas and fresh guacamole at a restaurant with a covered deck and waterfront view, and also playing tour guide and telling stories as we strolled.
We did make it back to The Sandlot, and this time with what we thought were enough people to kind of finagle a game of volleyball.
“This place is like a playground for adults!” my friend said, and without hesitation we ran for the swings. The scene at the SandLot is people playing with their dogs, parents holding on to little ones (or letting go) as they flop around in the sand. And adults of diverse ages and backgrounds, sharing cocktails, sharing food, sharing laughter. Everyone sways to the breeze and to the DJ.
We got our hands on a volleyball and made our way to the net. Pant legs were rolled up, shoes were removed and toes dug into the sand. It was on.
As it turns out, 5 people is not enough to run a long game of volleyball, but boy did we try. We ran, we jumped, we fell, we got sandy. And it was great. We then made our way from the sand to the gravel barrier that separates us from the Harbor and plopped down to relax.
“That was so much fun,” my friend said.
“We never, as adults, get dirty like that anymore,” I said, “It’s true!” I was referring to the mixture of sweat and sand that we all had on our bodies.
I remember being a kid and being happy to get into anything. Mud and rain puddles were fair game, and just dirt in general. But as adults we find the sand annoying and on the beach we retreat all our limbs to our oversized towels. No more sand castles, no more mud pies, no more imagination.
And yet it a world that baffles us sometimes where it’s hard to hold on to dreams and to believe in anything, this element of play is what we need the most. Bring back the excitement to your life by opting to get dirty next time you’re outside. Don’t think twice about it? What do you have to lose? Nothing a quick shower and load of laundry can’t fix.
What do you have to gain? A feeling of freedom. The element of play. Raw laughter in its purest form. Living in the moment.