I’ll never forget the dreaded words each and every Game On Family Entertainment employee eventually heard on their shift. The managers would approach me with a walkie-talkie and sympathy in their eyes, knowing the tedious journey ahead of me: “It’s your time for the Bouncy.” I know what you are thinking: “You got paid to jump on a moon-bounce? What an awesome job.” Wrong. The Bouncy meant a dreaded, lengthy, life-wasting four hours on the United State’s 2nd largest inflatable: a purple, yellow and green germ-infested, smelly moon bounce. The Bouncy seemed to be a warped dimension where I could peer at the clock, force myself to look away for what seemed to be 45 minutes only to find that the clock has only inched five minutes. When I wasn’t monitoring rosy-cheeked toddlers and curly headed babies with each hand in mom and dad’s, I was demanding the same group of prepubescent boys and girls to stop jumping on the inflated rocket decoration, stop chucking themselves down the slide backwards, and to quit playing violent dodge-ball around the delicate young-ones.
One hot and seemingly endless summer day, the inflatable was desolate. All of the sudden, the routy preteens rushed in, and instead of sitting in my boredom, I decided to play dodge-ball with them. Their innocence was refreshing to see. I started to look forward to the preteens keeping me company on the Bouncy. Although reinforcement was necessary and occasionally, I kicked kids off the inflatable, they began to be mindful of the babies and toddlers, ceased their violent dodge-ball throwing around other families, and respected my instructions. I learned about 20 names and engaged in their personal lives of friends and school. I would even say that was one of the best summers I have ever had with these young-adults. I believe in being on the moon bounce instead of wishing the current experience would be over. I can find joy in the mist of the stinky, brightly colored inflatable if only I would appreciate the situation I am in. Often times I have the notion that once I reach ‘x’ point in my life, things will really come together. However, I believe that the phrase “if only” has no conclusion- the future only holds more “if only”s. I learned to engage in the time and place I currently am in on this journey of life, and as we have all heard before, life is about the journey, not a destination. I have to remind myself of this daily so my life doesn’t zoom by without me experiencing it.