I can’t remember how we got on the subject, but somehow me and the kids started talking about “flow.” I think it may have been related to my work – the volumes I write – and all the time they’ve seen me in front of a computer, marveling at how quickly I can type without ever looking at the keyboard.
They actually test me from time to time – telling me to turn my head to them as they tell me what to type. My youngest actually holds my face sideways as I pass her typing test with flying colors.
Writing, for me, is a state of flow. Most times. It just comes out and when it does I have no regard for time or any other variable. And I actually feel different when I am doing it, compared to how I feel when I’m not.
Flow, for those who don’t know, is like being in a zone. It’s defined as an energized focus that comes from also finding total joy in the activity.
So I described that to the little maniacs, wondering if they may relate to something they do in their little lives that brings them to that state – unaware of time and in total, focused bliss.
“Oh yeah. I feel like that when I go shopping.”
My oldest. I believe it. Because she can shop. But we don’t shop, really. Like, ever. I actually just pick stuff up I think they’d like, and go from there. I can’t deal with taking them all and dragging them from store to store to find the perfect pair of jean shorts (which don’t really exist unless you make cut-offs out of jeans that you’ve worn for six years – which kids can’t do because they grow).
Mine grumble about going to the grocery store.
“How many things do we have to geeeee-eeet-uh?”
But I know some of the things that get them to a state of flow, and I hope by exposing them to as many things as possible in this massive world around us, that they discover things on their own. Because flow is magical.
Puzzles and riddles and tricks and challenges keep my son in a state, unaware of where time is going or that his stomach might be growling, which is monumental given how acutely aware he is of his hunger status at all times.
For the littlest, it used to be gymnastics, until a broken arm sidelined her. Lately, it’s been graphic novels and absolutely anything that involves animals and sometimes, like, hard labor. I know that sounds weird, but she’s kind of task oriented. She’s a “let’s get this shit done so we can do the next, cooler thing” kind of person.
She showed the most enthusiasm for the work that went into getting our micro-farm together, usually being the last short-person standing with a shovel in hand as the sun began to dip on those hard-working weekends.
And my oldest? It’s not shopping. She just didn’t really know. It’s creative work. She’s always been a crafter, loving the errand of losing herself in creating…anything. Her Barbie worlds were perfect reflections of reality, with the exception of Barbie’s measurements, but those were out of her control.
Her reenactments are spot on. She could spend hours designing a room or a house, and has, and she showed so much interest in nail design my mom bought her a fake hand to practice on. I know.
Most recently, she found herself lost while creating stickers for national parks, after we returned from a whirlwind tour of five of them. I’m not sure how big her portfolio is, but it’s solid. And good.
And this past weekend, she floated off on a henna ride, spending a solid few hours free-handing designs on anyone who wanted one in our family. She did this unicorn where the mane would wind up Riley’s fingers. She did a badass dragon on Nolan’s forearm and a howling wolf on Dominic’s wrist. She gave me a little magic on my left hand, which I always love, and she went pro-like with a design that paid homage to Harry Potter.
All free hand, just from looking at a design. She was in flow, smiling and focused. And it was cool to watch.
Thinking she may be able to start a side hustle, real quick.