I was reading an article in a magazine the other night that discussed finding the child within us all once again. It went on to say that in this day and age, we really have lost the ability to ‘play’ and that re-connecting with our inner child is not only good fun but great for our mental health as well.
Before I poo-poohed the idea, I gave it some thought and came to the conclusion that the article writer is correct.
In this day and age, we have forgotten how to play.
Oh, I don’t mean sitting in the sandpit and making sand castles but if that is what you want to do, then there really is no reason that you shouldn’t. I mean finding joy in doing little things.
I asked myself what I think has changed about life that means we place a greater emphasis on working hard for material rewards and forgetting that there is more to life than great wealth or acquisitions. I asked myself how I have changed and how it came to be that I have lost that inner child.
Please don’t think that I believe that you shouldn’t have a strong work ethic because I do. However there needs to be balance and somehow over the years, this balance has been lost.
At some point in our lives, we replace the enjoyment of simple times with guilt for not being productive.
I am guilty of this myself. If I take the time to lay on my bed (or the couch) for a nanna nap, my mind starts talking to me and saying things like “You really shouldn’t be wasting time. Get up and go and do the dishes, weed the garden, sand those chairs, work on that quilt etc etc” and the guilt begins to set in. But why do I feel guilty for taking the time to recharge my batteries, or for curling up with a book to read just for fun (and not for self improvement or as part of my studies)?
My question is “Why should I feel guilty for taking a little time out for myself”?
Sure, it’s great to be a contributing member of society and our to our families, but when did it become wrong to make time to do something you love and play?
We all grow up and put away the things of childhood but when did ‘growing up’ become ‘growing boring’ and forgetting how to have fun?
How many times have we said about another person “Oh he/she has never grown up” like it is a bad thing? Perhaps that person has just realised that it can be fun to hark back to our childhood and take time out to do something for the sheer pleasure of it all.
When was the last time you laughed and danced in the rain? And if you didn’t, why not? Was it because dancing in the rain is considered ‘childish’ and wasting time that could be spent doing something much more productive?
There is a bible verse that talks about becoming as little children and learning what the kingdom of Heaven is like in doing so. It has been interpreted in many ways over the years with the most common interpretation being that ‘becoming as a child’ means to be trusting, honest and innocent. What if it also meant being joyful, happy, and playful? Doing things for the sheer joy that doing that brings? Kind of makes Heaven a great place to look forward to doesn’t it?
It’s a hard road learning to let go of the guilt for not being productive every waking moment but it is one that I am more determined than ever to break. With that in mind, I started reading a book last night that I last read when I was a teenager still attending high school. It was the very first fantasy styled book I had ever read and I have always remembered it with fondness. So when I found it on a book stall at a market yesterday, I knew that I had to have it. The vendor (who also happened to be my mother) asked if I was giving it to the Tween to read.
I replied “Yeh sure, she can read it AFTER I have!”.
I am going to take the time to rediscover my joy and spend some time in unproductive ‘play’ as I read the book once again. And I am determined to beat down the guilt as I do so.
So, what type of ‘unproductive’ play time do you enjoy?