The problem with growing up is that I don’t want to do it. So, I’m thinking I might just wear my Halloween costume everyday.
Too often we become “adults” and the curiosity of life fades. We forget how to play, everything gets so damned serious, and we lose the imagination and wonder of our youth. One of the things I love most about climbing and the adventuresome mindset is that it feels like an open slate, where the fantasy of the impossible as well as the possible still exist.
Somehow I think of this every year around Halloween. I absolutely love seeing little kids get so psyched on their costumes. In their yet-un-jaded minds, they become Spiderman, or a Power Ranger, or a Ninja. And it’s serious – they are all that.
A year or two ago here in Estes, mid-summer I think, I saw this little kid springing down the sidewalk from his tiptoes, holding his chin high, as if he thought he was ten feet tall. He wore gloves, boots, mask, the full deal, even though it was all a size too big. I tied not to laugh, but my smile gave it away. “He’s worn it everyday since Halloween,” his dad said with a smile, half apologetic, half pure joy. The kid stayed focused. He is Spiderman.
For me, I wanted to be a cowboy. A real west cowboy. Not only for Halloween but for years. Old photos showed it: First day of school: cowboy outfit. Christmas morning: cowboy outfit. Hugging my dog: cowboy outfit.
We grow up and things change, and I don’t want to be a cowboy anymore (too much hard work), but I still cherish the unbound mindset. We see it in different ways nowadays, and, I think, one of them is laughter, great laughter. Jonny Copp had the greatest laugh, and it forced itself out in the craziest situations, instantaneously changing serious situations into moments of possibility. And, though I haven’t thought this through, maybe it all ties in with self-expression. Who we are, who we want to be.
I think this mindset extends beyond costumes and applies not only to those who buck societal norms and chase windmills in the mountains, but to free thinkers and anyone willing to express individuality, the small minds that judge be damned. Whether it’s how you dress, who you love, or the urge to dance. Though it does remind me of a good joke:
An old guy is hanging out at a bus stop, and he’s staring at this punk rocker kid with a multicolored Mohawk. The kid finally snaps: “Whatchyou lookin’ at, old man?! Haven’t you ever done anything wild in your life?”
“Well,” the old guys says, “As a matter of fact I have. When I was in the Navy, I fucked a peacock once and so I wondered if you were my son.”
OK, so I’m not going to wear my costume every day (and, for the record, I’ve never seen a peacock up close). No need, when you can run, climb, ski, and play in the mountains, laughing and dancing on the summits.