Is mac n’cheese yellow better than pink flamingo?

Eileen - Holly Springs, North Carolina
Entered on February 13, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity
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I believe in coloring outside the lines. Remember the days when you were five and you picked up a handful of crayons and just started to color? It didn’t matter that you didn’t color inside the lines, or that the sun was purple instead of orange. You didn’t know that the sun wasn’t supposed to be that color, or have stripes, you just colored until the crayons were flat. Then when you proudly presented this picture to your mom, she didn’t tell you that it was wrong, she just hung it on the fridge and told you what a good job you did. When you’re five, you don’t know right from wrong (at least that’s what the adults all think) so you can’t be expected to recognize that the sun isn’t allowed to be that color.

But, since we are no longer five the rules change, the sun has to be yellow, you must color inside the lines and the sun most definitely does not have any stripes. The rules of the grown-up coloring book are different, everything has to be the color that it is in real life, no stripes, tie-dye or polka-dots, and everything has to fit with in the lines. This is our lives now, structured and planned, down to every detail. I believe that its ok for some one older than five to color outside of the lines, in fact its not only ok, its necessary to have that simple joy in life. For just a couple minutes we can return to the life of juice boxes and Goldfish for a snack with out having to worry about how many hours we need to spend in the gym later to work of the calories. That was a simpler life, we didn’t have a care in the world, we didn’t worry about the economy, rising gas prices, or the conflicts in the Middle East. All that we were concerned about was if there was enough room on the fridge for all our pictures and if mac n’cheese yellow was better than pink flamingo.

The grown-up world that we inhabit no longer contains all the colors that come in a box of Crayola crayons, but maybe it should. The world would be a better place if maybe once in a while all the adults sat down with a coloring book and in the true five year old spirit just randomly grabbed a crayon, and started coloring with it. Not worrying if they colored inside the lines, or if the grass was the right shade or green. Who said that the grass had to be green? If our five year old selves decided that we wanted a hot pink barn with teal and orange stripes, we colored it exactly like that. I believe in coloring outside the lines because it’s a simple joy, that’s easy to come by, and that has no rules. Besides, what else are you supposed to do with all the empty space on your fridge?