I have this elusive feeling that I chase. The feeling is a moment in time from my childhood. I would never say that I had an ideal childhood, but there were very brief moments from that time of my life that I wish I could recapture.
Those moments usually center around the same thing…boredom that leads you to really take in a moment. The way a flower smells. The way the sun casts a shadow. To savor the authentic. To drown out that which really doesn’t matter. To notice the small things. To create.
Life these days is full of programs, events, parties, activities, and a myriad of things to fill the time. We are afraid of boredom. And boredom is sometimes scary, I get that. I see that in headlines of late. We’ve become so used to our time not being our own to rest, create, and recreate. Sometimes I feel there is this subtle unspoken statement that says we cannot do anything of value unless there is a program to help us along. I find that tiring rather than helpful. I get tired of running and running. Am I alone in this? I mean, I do enjoy some programs and activities…but when do we just get to be?
The older I get, I find myself craving authenticity. I don’t want every minute of my time being filled.
I remember when life wasn’t so scheduled. I remember moments of walking among the southern pecan trees with the summer wind blowing in my face…and truly savoring just the way the wind felt on an amazing day. I noticed how the wind refreshed me. I daydreamed among the fields. I scavenged for four leaf clovers and made jewelry out of wild flowers. No one was scheduling my play, or coming up with all these objectives to make sure my play had meaning. Play itself was valuable. I was given room to think, feel, and dream.
I’m always a little sorrowful when my kids wake and ask, “what are we going to do today?” as if the most horrible thing would be to say “nothing…and you’re welcome!” This constant need to be entertained and micromanaged worries me. I’m noticing that even things that were once simple pleasures are now over the top dog and pony shows. Just read family and parenting magazines these days, and you’ll see what I mean. The dailies of life have to be fun, entertaining, and scripted.
My children are not immune to this shift in culture, even though we homeschool. I am not immune to buying into it at times, but it rarely delivers. For a brief moment in time today I saw my children embody the spirit of authentic childhood. They created a huge mural spanning three house lengths of sidewalk with chalk. And they were proud of what they made. It was simple and pure. Unscheduled and unplugged. A little boredom inspired creativity and true play. The summer wind is still felt on little faces.