Most of my early childhood was spent outside and I rarely ever wore shoes.

My umber-charcoal coloured feet took me everywhere I needed to go and I have fond memories of hiking the hills and playing in the dirt for hours…even though my Mom spent a good percentage of her time picking the cacti from of toes.

I don’t remember why I chose to forgo footwear but I think I just loved the free feeling of going barefoot. I do recall, however, my best friend and her mom instructing me to wash my feet before entering their house. Those were the rules if I wanted to play. Now being a parent to two boys, I understand why those parameters were set for their 8 year-old visitors.

Biking the neighbourhood, pogo-sticking, making mud pies, making soups and stews from flowers parts and other outdoor finds and putting dishsoap on our rubber trampoline were all completely acceptable pasttimes. My neighbourhood friends and I spent hours building forts, playing ‘house’, making crafts, painting rocks and overtaking King Koopa and his castle in record time.

We walked to school (and out of sight) as 5 year-old kindergarteners and the only rules were to be home when the sun went down and we had to use our manners if we wanted to stay at a friends for dinner. This was a time when penny candy still existed, seatbelts were optional and kids could buy smokes for their parents with a $5.00 bill and a hand-written note.

Throwing caution to the wind on most days, my worries were few.

Though my adolescent and adult years brought some challenging and sobering times, I am thankful my sense of adventure never left.

I got way too serious for a while and spent too many years consumed by life’s difficulties. I think out of necessary survival, I unintentionally buried my carefree spirit for a while.

I smiled little and worried about what others thought of me more than I’d like to admit. In doing so, at the times when I so desperately yearned for and needed acceptance, I efficiently lost old and new friends alike.

Only by grace was I able to persist to getting to, once again, know the ‘me’ I knew was always there.

Slowly, with perseverance and some stubbornness, the joyful, smiley, outgoing, somewhat loud and obnoxious but genuinely loving and carefree Becky began to return.

Life, businesses, failures and adversities can take their toll.

They can take a big enough toll that we don’t enjoy the journey at all and we lose the ability to enjoy anything.

We can become too serious, too self-absorbed, too self-conscious, too cold-hearted, too jaded, too hurt, too offended and envious of what others have.

Learn to play again.

Unlearn boring.

Don’t let the game of life win. Play better. If you don’t know how, learn. Don’t let fun leave your spirit. Press in, press on and always remember that “joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Through times of trial, never give up.

In business, simply adjust your marketing strategy.

In life, simply keep going.

-Becky

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