Second Childhood Can Be Quite Exhilarating

Second childhood. I have heard and seen this term used for as long as I can remember. I suppose different people enter this stage of life at different times. I must have entered it recently when I was traveling to a speaking engagement at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in Cambridge, Maryland.
I had flown into the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, rented a car, and was driving to the resort about 70 miles away. But since my arrival at the airport was after 4:00 PM and I ran into some heavy traffic by the time I got my car and departed the airport, the distance and driving time seemed much more than 70 miles. I had planned to have dinner at the resort, check-out the room in which I would be speaking the next day, take a walk, go over my presentation materials, and then get to bed fairly early since I would be leading in a full day seminar, driving back to the airport, flying to Knoxville, and then driving back to Gatlinburg.
As darkness fell, however, I decided to go ahead and pull off at one of the many fast-food restaurants I was passing, get a little something to eat, drive on to the resort, get checked-in, look at the presentation room, take a walk, go over the presentation materials, and then go to bed. The next restaurant was a McDonald’s. It had been a while since I had eaten at a McDonald’s, so I pulled over and went in. Since I wasn’t all that hungry, when the girl at the counter asked me what I wanted, I replied, “Give me the smallest hamburger you have, small fries, and a small Diet Coke. And throw in one of those little packs of animal crackers.”
She paused, looked at me, and then replied, “Well, what you’ve described is a Happy Meal.” I just looked at her and shrugged my shoulders. She continued, “Plus, you get a toy.” So I said, “Okay. Give me a Happy Meal.” I’m not what one would call a big eater. The Happy Meal was plenty. And, as the girl said, I got a toy – which ended up as a Christmas stocking stuffer for my grandson Trey.
What led to my writing about the Happy Meal today is the fact that I got another one last week. Again, I was on my way to an engagement and wanted a little something to eat. This time, I just straight out walked up to the counter and ordered it. Now, it is a known fact that I have a rather authoritative voice. So when the woman customer standing at the counter next to me heard me order the Happy Meal, she gave me sort of a quizzical look and then glanced to see if there was a child with me. I relieved her of all doubts when I smiled and said, “It’s for me.” Trey gets another stocking stuffer.
Entering second childhood is not all that bad. In fact, apart from leading to inexpensive meals, it can be quite exhilarating if you think like a child while eating like a child. A column I wrote only a few weeks ago about revisiting the “snow cream days” of my childhood brought many, many responses. In that column, I shared one of the thoughts in my Winning Thoughts book: “Recapture the little child in you; the one that was there before you learned what you couldn’t do.” Another thought from the book is, “To really live is to be curious, to wonder, to dream, to be surprised by simple things.”

Think these thoughts the next time you see a child – or yourself – eating a Happy Meal.


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