Discovering the joy of adult coloring books

For the past several months I’ve seen a rise in the mentioning of coloring books for adults. This piqued my interest. As a self-proclaimed “big kid,” I’ve held onto my 96-count box of Crayola crayons for — well, just know it’s been a while.

Garnigan, LaTria

By LaTria Garnigan

I’ve never had any qualms about my love of coloring. I think over my lifetime I’ve had just about all of the Disney coloring books — “Winnie the Pooh” and “The Little Mermaid” as my favorites. I can still hear my mom telling me to “stay inside the lines” while coloring.

(Side note: by the time you’re reading this, the day will have already passed {March 1} and I will have already spoiled her, but Happy Birthday to my wonderful mother!)

So imagine my surprise when this “coloring” phenomenon took off like a rocket! What seemed to be a bit taboo just a few short years ago, and would elicit “You still color?” is now all the rage to just about everyone my age or older who I’ve spoken to. It’s even ignited some cordial small talk in my local Target about the best places to buy said coloring books and questions on whether or not to use color pencils, markers or both.

So armed with this newfound confidence, I went searching. Target was the first stop. Barnes and Noble was next and then just out of curiosity, Dollar Tree followed. All three had what I wanted. I was also informed that Wal-Mart has a wide selection as well.

Armed with my new purchases I set off on a coloring adventure once I returned home. The first 20 to 30 minutes was spent deciding on which colors to use first; which ones to group together and what kind of shading technique to go with. This ended up being more technical than I had originally planned, but I went with it.

And because I’m someone who sort of struggles with turning off work while I’m at home, I recalled a conversation my director Mark had with me about the color wheel — working with primary colors, complementary colors and secondary colors. Unfortunately, this all came to mind after I had colored in a flower that did not follow the rules. But, it’s my flower and I’ll color it how I want to.

After about two hours, I finally looked up to see my masterpiece. Realistically, I had only shaded in maybe 1/5 of the page — but in my soul I had done a lot of work. Most importantly what I took away from the moment was that: (1) I wasn’t tied down to my phone checking social media relentlessly, (2) my eyes weren’t glued to the television — a victory in and of itself — and (3) I was smiling.

Those few little flowers with their rainbow-esque colors emitted so much joy from within that I couldn’t help but smile. Nothing about that day had been stressful, but in that moment I felt so much peace and calmness.

And if that is not something that is included in the ads for all of these different coloring books, then it should be. Because in just those few short hours I had let go of all the hustle and bustle of adulthood and immersed myself into something that truly made me happy.

And I encourage you to do the same.

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