anne mikolay 2012 120Facebook is a playground for adults. You can find pretty much anything there. While some folks share political commentary, others post inspirational quotations and photographs, recipes, jokes, videos of ice bucket challenges, cute pictures of puppies and kittens. No matter what you like to “show and tell” on Facebook, you can always find food for thought there, like the quote from English author Aldous Huxley I read this morning: “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age.”

That makes perfect sense to me, as I recently witnessed firsthand the re-emergence of one's inner child when I accompanied a friend on her quest to buy a bicycle. Now middle aged, my friend hadn't been on a bike since high school. That's a lot of years (you do the math!) gone by without that youthful, “I'm flying!” feeling kids get when coasting down a hill on a bicycle! Back when we were kids, nobody raced around on ten-speeds, wore helmets or bike shorts. Our bikes were simple two-wheelers with coaster brakes, and that's what my friend wanted – not an easy find in today's world of serious cycling.

As luck would have it, my friend spotted the bike she wanted the moment she stepped out of my car: an “old fashioned”, green bike with pretty, little birds painted on the white fenders, and a cute, whimsical bell on the handle-bars. She took it for a test drive, and as I watched her peddle away, she was transformed before my eyes into a little, grinning girl, happily touring about on her two-wheeler, enjoying that simplest of pleasures from days gone by, the liberating bicycle ride.

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Like most children of the 60s, my first bike was a red tricycle my parents gave me for Christmas. Hardly willing to wait until spring for my maiden voyage, I rode my tricycle around the dining room table...around and around and around...until my mother saw tracks on the linoleum and made me stop. My next bike was a red two-wheeler, a girl's version of Beaver Cleaver's wheels, but for me, the piece de resistance of bicycles was my hot pink stingray with a white wicker basket and pink/white streamers suspended from the handle-bars. How cool was that?! Touring around my neighborhood was hardly the Tour de France, but “flying” by trees and bouncing over bumps in the sidewalk and street was what my adult self calls delightful! The child in me simply calls it super fun!

And that's what it's all about. Isn't it? Navigating the aging process, as Aldous Huxley and my pal on her bike so perfectly illustrated, is all about rediscovering the child within you, quite easier said than done when the inner child is squashed so far beneath life's aches, pains, disappointments, and mistakes. But if you could have seen the grin on my friend's face as she took off on her yellow bicycle, you would know with certainty that the child you once were is still inside you. So if you see something that strikes your fancy, something you think you are “too old” for, call that child out! Carpe diem! If you like that stuffed animal for sale in Kohls, buy it! If you want to see the latest Muppet movie, go ahead! If you, like me, enjoy black and white cookies, eat up! If you still play with dolls and doll houses (no names please...okay...it's me!), go ahead and enjoy! Live, laugh, love however and whenever you can!

If you happen to see a smiling lady on a pretty, green bike, that's my girlfriend, and quite logically, the person who posted Aldous Huxley's wisdom on Facebook. Give her a wave; maybe her inner child will ring the bell on her handle-bars for you!