This past Saturday, my son was invited to a 4 year old party where gymnastics was the theme. So sticking with tradition, we had to get the birthday girl a gift. Usually when we attend parties, I let Artis pick at least one of the gifts because the party dude or gal is his friend and he knows them better than I do. Saturday’s choice: Play-Doh. It didn’t surprise me that he picked Play-Doh. Playing with it is one of his favorite past times which is why he convinced me to get him a new set as well.

After getting back home, true to four year old never ending energy, Artis tore open the Play-Doh pack and began to play. He was there for over an hour sitting at the kitchen table, making construction sites, fruit roll ups, and balls of fun. When I announced it was time to clean up for a snack, he put the Play-Doh in the color coordinated containers, stored his toys, and sat down to wait for his evening snack. I noticed there was little colorful balls (no pun intended) of doughy substance all over the floor around the table. I gave Artis a choice to pick the balls of Play-Doh up and put them in the containers or sweep them up and throw them away. He chose to throw them away. 

In that moment, a thought hit me. In life, we have relationships, careers, finances, even our health that we play with like Play-Doh. When situations are shiny and new we laugh and enjoy. We are open to learn from the experience and even give it lots of love and attention. But when something comes along and distracts us, or seems shiner, or just too hard, we simply dispose of that thing that we thought was so great to begin with. We choose to let the crumbs fall off not realizing that if we make a habit of certain behaviors over time, eventually there is nothing left. The bank account becomes scarce and we are regretting purchases. The manager is requesting less and less of us at work and we are training our replacement. The scale says we are twenty pounds heavier and those jeans cry when we try to put our hips in them. We are shocked in these moments because our actions caused a reaction and created an outcome that we didn’t care enough about to be aware.

Being self-aware is an awesome tool. Having foresight into a desired future should help us to engage in our current circumstances and not only live for today but also live for tomorrow. I challenge you to practice self-awareness. Take note of the comings and the goings of your mind, body, and surroundings. We are what we think so let us allow this Play-Doh moment to change our prospective.

From the kid in me,