Cousin Stanley (That Was Then)
When I was a kid, I went through a period, oh, I was about 10 or so, when I loved to color. I thought I was pretty good at it, too… in my anal retentive kinda way. I would take a crayon or colored pencil, and whatever part I was about to color in, I would first trace the outline with the same color on the black outline as the one I used to color the inner area. This gave the picture a properly shaded , 3-D appearance. I tried to be meticulous and never go out of the lines. And I always went in order. Never skipped any pages. Hmmm, there might have been a little OCD thing going on there. Well, if there was, I outgrew it. Or maybe it was cured by Stanley. (When you see the name Stanley, picture the way Seinfeld said the name, Newman”).
I met Stan when his dad, my Dad’s Cousin Dave came from California to visit. Which makes Stan my 1st-cousin-once-removed. I think. He was removed, all right. And they stayed for what was probably one of the longest weeks of my life. His Dad owned a famous condiment company at the time, and Stan, who was a year or two older than me, was this big, spoiled Baby Huey type of kid who just wanted to pick up and destroy every toy I owned. But my coloring books were safe, right? What could possibly go wrong?
Sure enough, he walked in my room while I was coloring during the week of their stay and asked if he could color in one of my books. Well, of course, I instinctively knew he couldn’t color as nicely and neatly as I did, but, what the heck? It couldn’t be that bad. So I gave him a brand new one that my mom had recently bought for me.
Well, apparently, one can exceed all expectations. Later that day, when he wasn’t around, looked in the book he was coloring in and literally burst into tears. Not only did he not stay in the lines. He only used one crayon. A purple crayon, which he used on almost every page in the book. And he pretty much just scribbled on every picture. Who DOES that??? I still remember my mom doing her best to calm me down, telling me, “They’ll be gone soon. I’ll get you a new coloring book.” Took her a long time to console me.
In retrospect, I think maybe Stan was a functioning autistic child. I don’t remember feeling like he was a bully. Just more or less inept.
But he ruined me for coloring books for a long time.
This is Now
Now, here I am – A 63-year-old man, and lately I’ve been reading about the resurgence of coloring books in the past few years. So I’ve decided to start coloring again. Only now, I have to ask myself, Why would I be thinking now, about an adult coloring book – fun or therapy?
Well, probably al little bit of both. There are so many styles, too. One of the most popular styles among the folks who just want to color to relieve stress are Mandalas. A mandala is originally used to describe intricate spiritual symbols that vary in complexity. You could spend hours coloring in some of the more sophisticated ones. But there is no right or wrong way to color them. If you’re artistic, you can do a lot with creating cool gradients and shading.
One reviewer on Amazon said, “This is a great way to ground yourself in the present moment and to stop worrying. Your mind gets occupied with this calmness and as problems cross your mind, you are in a better state to solve them.”
Well, I’m convinced! Here is the book that he was referring to. Of course, there are many others…
A Coloring Book For Baby Boomers
As for people like me, there are coloring books for every subject under the sun. Including Baby Boomers, of course. Which is the direction I think I prefer. I like to working with subjects the I recognize. I know what color a goldfish is supposed to be. Or a fire hydrant. Or what options I could choose for butterflies, magic mushrooms, and peace symbols…
And of course, I have a purple crayon reserved for the Artist Formerly Known As symbol.
Yes, you’re going to need something to color with!
I would love to hear your experiences with coloring books for grownups. Have you been thinkking about coloring books. Do you have any stories about how coloring has helped you think straighter, cleared you head, or just felt like it? Do you color with your kids? Do you consider coloring books fun, therapeutic… or at all? Please comment below!