How Do I “Throw Candy” Again?

I was away at a beach house reading a book called Present Over Perfect. The author, Shauna Niequist, was describing a time she was away at a lake house. There was a tradition there of throwing candy at kayakers as they paddled by. At one point, in the middle of a lot going on, the host stopped everything to run and throw candy at a couple of kayakers. She was dumbfounded how he could have just stopped in the middle of all that just to throw candy.

As I watched from the deck of the lodge, I began to sob. I sobbed because I used to throw candy, no matter what. I used to be warm and whimsical. I used to believe in the power of silliness and memory-making and laughter. And then I became the kind of person who threw candy as long as it didn’t get in the way of being responsible. I threw candy at sanctioned candy-throwing time, after all the work was done. And then I got so wrapped up in being responsible that it was never the right time to throw candy. And then, the worst thing: I became the kind of person who made fun of candy-throwers.

Shauna Niequist


I struggled as I read this chapter. She acknowledged that she used to be warm and whimsical but all that was a memory now. I could totally relate.

WHO AM I AFTER IT IS ALL STRIPPED AWAY?

After a whole bunch of life events rearranged the life I had known for so long, I went to a counselor to try to make sense of it all. She asked me one of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to ponder: Who are you now that everything is stripped away? I had no idea. 

I mentioned this to a close friend, who had known me for the past almost 40 years. “Oh, I know who you are,” she said. Really? Oh, do tell. “I remember when I first got to know you. You were funny, fun, and lighthearted. I loved that about you.”

Over time, those qualities eroded. Chipped away by one busy season after another. Responsible was my new moniker. Teacher, trainer, serious one. Oh, I still had moments where fun and funny would peek out. But they were the exception to the daily rule. Lighthearted was just a memory. 

RSVP: YES

So I read Shauna’s description through tears. How do I get that back? How do I “throw candy” again? All I knew is that it was time to reclaim the deepest part of me. When everything around us changes, the invitation to change ourselves has to be accepted. RSVP: Yes. 

I can’t change any of the circumstances, and most of them I would never want to change. They have brought me to the place I am today. But I can change the image that paints a false impression of who I am. 

WHAT ARE THINGS I DO THAT DON’T REFLECT WHO I REALLY AM?

What are the things that I do that don’t reflect who I am at the deepest level? We all need to ponder that question, I think. When we aren’t being authentic to our true selves, we can’t really be at peace. I’m on a quest to answer this question, but until I figure this out a little more, maybe I’ll just throw a little candy. Maybe we could all use a little candy throwing in our lives!

You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.

Thomas Merton

8 thoughts on “How Do I “Throw Candy” Again?

  1. This is so true, Kathy. As life becomes more serious, more responsible, we tend to lose our joy. When really, we should be grateful we have the opportunity to even have someone and something to be responsible for! This childlike quality can mature in us and become a kind of wisdom, right? It’s not drunken revelry; it’s sheer joy in being blessed enough to celebrate special moments with others. Thank you for sharing these thoughts we especially need at this time! 🙂

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  2. Holy smokes-TIMELY. Being responsible and intentional and strategic comes with age and experience but shouldn’t choke out joy, zeal, comedic courage. Thank you for this. Thank you for the powerful question and most of all thank you for digging deep and sharing with all of us.

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  3. I love that book! “Present over Perfect” changed my life. Grateful I got to have you in my life Miss Kathy. You were a “fun” teacher….even though we always joked that your definition of fun was a little unconventional! Logical syllogisms! You changed many lives for the better. Thank you! You’ll always be one of my favs.

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    1. Oh Emily, that made my day:) I would never want to re-live some of the experiences we had back then, but teaching? The highlight of all those years. I had the best classes (logic to 8th graders? Can it get any more “fun?”) and the best students. You were a great student and your class was so much fun to teach. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Hope you’re having a blast with those babies!

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  4. Hi Kath! Some of my fav memories of you is how hard we would laugh while playing cards! What a great release! As I said on the FB post this chapter profoundly challenged me and made me cry as well. Lately I have taken the lead from my grands. I play hide-and – seek with them, I try and look at the workl thru their eyes and I color with them!!…. it really helps me to be around them! Being a first born I can be so “responsible” so trying to live more in wonder ! Thanks for you thoughts and encouragement.

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    1. Kim, it’s funny because when I was writing this, I thought maybe this would be easier with grands. They show us the joy and wonder like you said. And yes to the laughter that was at our card games, laughing til we cried. But also, that first born thing is real! Thanks you for commenting and rehearsing this with me. Love you💕

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