What pleasure we took, as kids, playing harmless pranks on each other come April 1st. And, then, screaming “April Fools!” to show it was all in good fun; fun that was allowed and expected. No one was safe. Not even Mom.
A little background…
Until 1582, when the Gregorian calendar superseded the Julian model, New Year’s Day was celebrated from the end of March until April 1. Those who did not make the transition to the new scheme (out of stubbornness or ignorance) and celebrated on the old timetable were called “April Fish” or fools. Poisson d’Avril in France; pesce d’Aprile in Italy.
In Italy, on April 1, small chocolate fish are the treat of the day. And, pranks abound – such as taping a small paper fish to your friend’s back, leaving her blissfully unaware until others gleefully exclaim her status as the “pesce d’Aprile!”
So, what started as scolding to “get with the times, old man”, has become a day of licensed mild-mannered mischief. And, who can’t use that? We have so few. Halloween comes to mind. And, Mardi Gras.
There’s nothing like an official acknowledgment that we take “ourselves” too seriously, and can benefit from a counter-balance a few times a year.
“Ourselves”. Who are we, anyway? We seem to be not all one thing or the other. We are a mysterious admixture of appetites (some considered “acceptable”, others not) talents, fears, and expressions. Our selves hold great complexity.
Fun gives us permission to lift the veil on some of those elements. To claim the parts of ourselves that we’d rather not give voice to, on most days - the “regular” days, when we are busy being who we are supposed to be, per our own standards, or others’.
But one day in April is not enough. So…
What about that cool idea you have, but never express? Or, that little voice that says “why not?” which you silence with scorn? Or, that wacky imagining that you always put back in the box?
The Italians have an expression for this – it’s “the dream you keep in a drawer”. How might you open that drawer and take a good look?
Make a visual representation of that possibility (a collage of magazine pics will do just fine), so you can gaze at it each day. Or, maybe there’s a song that really says it best. Put on your earphones and scream-sing along. Try some self talk – say “I wonder…” or “what if…” and then fill in the blank with your notion. Say it to yourself, out loud. Each day.
Nothing wondered, nothing gained.