Living with intention and finding my joy
There’s just something about a country fair that brings me joy.
The smiles on faces…
The screams of laughing children…
The smell of food drifting through the air…
Memories from childhood come flooding back as I entered the fair last night. As early as I can remember, I spent every waking moment at the Southeastern Washington Fair for my entire childhood. We would arrive on Wednesday with our horses and camper and wouldn’t leave until Labor Day Monday. Each year, we sadly watched it all come to an end…the booths shutting down, animal stalls cleaned, the last horse race was run, and the carnival rides were loaded on their trucks and headed to their next small town destination, leaving behind an empty and dusty fairgrounds. Back to school, sports and friends, until we would wait all summer for the fair to come around again.
It doesn’t matter when or where I am, to me, fairs feel the same…As a child showing horses at the fair in Walla Walla…A crisp autumn night with my college friends enjoying a small-town county fair…Once happening upon a fair while wandering aimlessly through the cobblestone streets of an Italian Tuscan village one summer while backpacking through Europe…A week-long medieval fair to celebrate the Festival of San Froilan in the Spanish town of Leon…Or a festive Mexican fair!
Last night I had the opportunity to go with my friends to the fair in my current town, Manzanillo, Mexico. Colorful, LOUD, fun, and energetic would be the best way to describe my night. As we entered the fair, we went through a maze of booths selling everything from sunglasses, to shoes, to candy, to tequila with scary insects inside! We slowly made our way through the stores, and then arrived at the food and drink section. Ohhhh, the Micheladas are A-MAZ-ING! We shared a large drink that was made in a 32-oz styrofoam cup and it was just the right mixture of spicy, icy, salty deliciousness! Then, on to the carnival.
**Sidenote – going to the fair all started one day while I was teaching English to my friends. One day we were describing different places such as a city, their ranch, a beach town, etc. We all chose different cities and were practicing making descriptions of different places. One of my sentences described the ferris wheel in Seattle. This was a new word for them and so I went through my phone and found a photo from last summer while visiting the Seattle waterfront. They excitedly told me about a fair in town and said, “Vamanos! Let’s go!”**
So, back to the carnival. It was a delight to watch my friends experience something new. They had never been on a carnival ride before and were a bit apprehensive. People who know me well, understand that I can be persuasive when needed. After a bit of convincing, they agreed to try the ferris wheel and it was so fun to see their reactions and the birdseye view from the top was pretty spectacular as well. Feeling successful with my persuasive skills, we then ventured to the roller coaster. This took a little more convincing, but after a few minutes they both agreed. It was a little janky and not the smoothest ride, yet so fun. At one time I turned around to see my friend crunched into a little ball with the biggest smile. (I’m not sure he will ride another roller coaster anytime soon!) Next up, carnival games! Target shooting with a scary looking gun, baseball toss in which they use rocks and glass bottles (no baseball in sight!), and a ring toss for pesos, not one successful toss amongst hundreds of rings. Does anyone ever really win at the ring toss?? I don’t think so!
…and so we ended the evening with al pastor tacos and yet another Michelada, enjoying the families around us eating, drinking, and laughing. Watching children enjoy their freedom and out way past the hour of sleep (myself included). I do believe we all left with a smile on our face and feeling a bit like a child again.
I end you with this…finding joy has been a high priority for me over these past many months. From the outside, I appear to live a life of randomness and with little direction. This all well may be true, yet one thing I have been focusing on is a life of intention.
Intentionally being present… Intentionally showing up for my people… Intentionally letting go of the past and focusing on the here and now… Intentionally accepting everything into my life – new places, new people, new experiences… Intentionally finding joy!
Whatever your intentions may be, I hope you live a life full of everything that brings you joy…