Friday, January 22, 2010

Celebrate Every Lamp Post

USA Network just finished their run of the amusing series Monk. For those uninitiated, Mr. Monk was an ex-detective with a dark past, an unusually high number of phobias, a little more than a touch of OCD, and an enormous heart. One of his quirky habits was that when walking he had to touch every parking meter just lightly with his finger as he walked by. This same habit continued for anything tall he came across while walking: car antennas, fence posts, and street lamps. Although it wasn't always consistent when he did it, as a fan, you became aware of when it was coming. You also saw how much it would drive Monk crazy if he didn't complete the habit.

As a joke, I began doing the same thing on occasion just to see how long my wife would tolerate the annoyance. To her credit, I'm sure I gave up on it before she expressed any concern. My youngest daughter at two, of course, picked up the habit. Now when we go walking she has to touch the top of every parking stanchion. I've raised her to be unafraid to explore her world, to look closely, and to touch and tread carefully, but this is just a habit, like marking off distance as we walk.

Every time she does this, I can't help but smile. It fills me with joy in so many ways, the fact that she's still at an age where I'm an influence on her, the fact she recognizes it's something we do just for fun, and the fact that she giggles as we do it as well. Each time we walk by a street sign or a lamp post it's become a little celebration, a happy little moment as we walk along.

Life is only a series of moments strung together. Pick one to celebrate. Dance for every blue car that goes by. Whistle for each pebble you find on your walk. Sing a note for each crack in the sidewalk. Now, some will refuse to do this if anyone else might see. That's fine. Let each little celebration be your own private happiness. One day you'll be comfortable enough to share it with others.
For now my daughter and I will share and celebrate every lamp post. I hope she shares them with her little ones. Pick something to make you happy and just let it be.

What's your lamp post?

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