So the other day I ended up babysitting my second cousins (that is the unspoken glory of a large extended family, your cousins bring their kids over and you end up watching them while they catch up with your parents/the rest of their immediate family). This would be far more annoying I’m sure if my second cousins weren’t completely awesome. I genuinely do enjoy spending time with them, even though it leaves me with an exhaustion I haven’t felt since I taught Pre-K. Anyway, I think I like hanging out with my second cousins because, while I am the responsible adult who makes sure they don’t play with fire, it also gives me a chance to be silly and play in a way that is much harder to do with adults.
What I mean is, I don’t know when the world became such a serious place- when people lost their sense of whimsy. Because a good majority of us in the United States work 40 hours a week or more, and when we are not working we are encouraged to fill up our time with things that are “cool,” exercise related, or relaxing. Things as seen on TV like going to expensive trendy restaurants, drinking until we lose our minds, going clubbing to dance in ways that we would be ashamed to own up to in front or our parents, exercising to keep ourselves sexy, fit, or both, Facebook/social media, watching Netflix… the list goes on. And it’s all so material that I find it unsatisfying and, if I’m being honest, more than a little confining. I want more to my life than that. And that’s why I like to play and be silly with my second cousins. It’s nice to get absorbed into their imaginations, to infuse life with a little adventure again, to be surprised by the little truths they reveal about life’s mysteries with their child-like wisdom.
And I almost encourage societies not to join the first world, because it gets lonely here. Because everything that once used to give the soul time to breathe, such as playing and being silly or taking refreshing walks by yourself just to remember that this world is bigger than you are, is not considered a priority and takes a back seat to these empty and meaningless distractions (the ones as seen on TV). And the worst part is we lie about it. We play this elaborate game of pretend like we’re not running on empty, denying that our soul has needs and afraid to genuinely pursue them. Because pursuing those needs might mean admitting that we have enough, and sometimes it’s still not enough, because our hearts still long for something more. Something like God, although in mainstream society admitting to a belief in God and confessing how that gives purpose and satisfaction to your life is on par with admitting you still believe in Santa Claus, and your critics will tell you as much.
But I can’t take that criticism seriously. Because I don’t think the world would be such a bad place if it allowed for more children and more child-like hearts.