Thursday, 8 March 2012

Thoughts on being a grown-up

When I was a kid, I liked doing lots of things: playing cowboys and indians, rolling down hills, capturing frogs and snakes, digging igloos, et cetera.  Some of these were pointless pursuits (slopping in a mud-hole, throwing rocks at a empty barrel), others were more constructive and creative (building forts, unearthing artifacts by our barn).  Never once was I made to feel as if I ought to explain my reason for doing something, unless it was along the lines of 'Why did you track mud all over the house?!?' or 'When are you planning on filling in all those holes?'  Most of the time I was just told to be careful I didn't put someone's eye out, and then sent on my way. 

How dismaying it is to find that these sorts of activities are somewhat frowned upon in the grown-up world.  If I were to spend two hours, as I used to, throwing a ball from a second-storey window down to my brother in the backyard - back, forth, trying to avoid the gutter - it would be met with confusion and considered a waste of time.  I can't carry around my beaver-stick bows and arrows without looking like an oddball.  Forget spending hours meandering from field to woods, constructing forts and battling invisible enemies; now, we are obligated to mete out such activity - measure it, quantify it, categorise it as exercise.  No longer are acts and activities accepted for their own inherent value, and the whole concept of playing disappears entirely once you reach adulthood.  If I said I wanted to spend an afternoon chucking rocks, other grown-ups would invariably ask me why. 

Why have we fallen into this trap?  Do grown-ups truly derive enjoyment from running on a hyped-up hamster wheel, or lifting large metal objects up over their heads repeatedly, or making endless punching and kicking motions along to a pumped-up soundtrack? I find this hard to believe. I think I'd rather go play.

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