This will probably be pretty poorly written for a few reasons, but I’ve delayed writing about it so far, so decided better post something than nothing and hope most of the message carries properly…
Many things we can do with our time.
Work on what? play what?
Work for whom? Why?
Play with whom?
The work one is a whole issue unto itself…
but the play question has been on my mind lately, and I had a good short discussion with someone the other day about it…
When you’re little, you play. You just play. It generally doesn’t matter much who you’re playing with or even so much what you’re doing, as long as you can find fun in it.
We get older and it becomes less simple to entertain ourselves.. less simple to be simply joyous in our playing.
I think a lot of it has to do with meaning.
When we’re children things simultaneously have no meaning to us, while also everything means everything to us. We live fully in the moment, without (generally) much concern for our future (beyond what we want for Christmas or where Mommy and Daddy will take us for our birthday), and without much concern for how our actions influence the world/our future and for what pieces of our past contribute to who we are/will be.
Anyway, we grow up. Some of us are able to still experience joy better than others. But I think most of us, by way of society and oursevles, have to lose the carefreeness that is integral to joy. We’re not carefree. We have responsibilities. We’re aware of our responsibilities, our influences, our actions… And I think what really weighs us down is how much we dispapoint ourselves in those regards. If we were fully on top of our responsibilities, acted promptly, properly and successfully to everything we should, and fully pleased and proud of our impact on others and comfortable with our environment’s impact on us, we would essentially be carefree. We would be happy. Joyous.
Yet we believe we should be happy, and that happiness might be in doing those things that should be fun.
Playing with friends should be fun.
Playing with lots of friends should be lots of fun.
There is a goodness to simply socializing and being around groups and crowds… But for the most part, I think it’s ultimately pretty empty on its own. The people have to matter. You can have a great time with some people… but.. aside from passing your time in a non-negative manner… does it count for anything? Is it really worth the time of your life? I know I’ll lose a lot of people on this idea.. I’m okay with that.
I was thinking about some of my memories..
The pieces that I remember… that very probably or definitely contributed to shaping who I am.. Most of them were not joyous times. I see my joyous face in photographs.. It appears that I was a really really happy kid sometimes. Nice photos. I don’t remember being there.
Most of my memories were not joyous, not blissful, certainly not carefree, and not even necessarily happy. That does not mean they were unhappy, traumatic, or painful.
They were meaningful.
Could be something as simple as picking flowers beyond the school racetrack with a friend at recess, or singing a song about the Titanic with my grandfather. .. Could be a dramatic standoff with someone much older than me, or my dog being hit by a car.
The things that meant something to me, mean something to me…
And I would not, could not, would not trade a meaningful experience in my life for something less, even something happy.
happy < meaningful.
And the joyous, happy, sweet, love-filled moments that are drenched in meaning……… those can’t be touched by meaningless carefree fun.
“Do nothing which is of no use..”
And my friend asked me the other day: what’s the point of going out with friends just to pass the time, just to have fun, just to keep them as friends?
That’s pretty much all the point there is… just to pass the time. just to have meaningless fun. just to keep more friends.
I used to fully depend on and trust myself. I never felt particularly short of friends, but I was completely comfortable and at peace in the solitude of my own company. And my friends were my friends, regardless of my choices or behavior — because my choices and behavior were true to myself.
I listened to myself. I probably found and created more meaning then than I’ve remembered to in recent years.
Keep the good, the meaningful. That’s what composes me. and that’s what’s worth protecting.