People in the Northern Hemisphere have just passed the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year. Which made me think about how long the days seemed when I was a child.
I clearly remember getting up and having breakfast in our pajamas and then getting dressed to go outside and play. We never stopped. We rode bikes, we ate lunch outside, we played in sandboxes and in the woods and each other’s yards…on very hot days we’d build forts inside by wrapping the giant sheet off my parents bed around the box fan to be inside a cooling wind tunnel, and spending forever making weird noises by talking, breathing, and whistling into the fan to sound strange. We literally amused ourselves with breathing.
We caught bugs and played with homemade play dough, we braided barrettes and painted with water colors, we went swimming and danced in the rain. We created our own games, read books, played with neighbors, and sometimes the whole neighborhood. We played with dolls and threw frisbees, created stories and drew pictures. We never stopped.
How is it possible that I now have 800 channels and Netflix and Amazon and I can’t find a show to watch and I’m more concerned with laundry than the fact that the days are so long that, like when we were children, I could be doing things all day long? I’m not eight so there are some limits to my days, but not as many as I automatically think there are when I actually stop to think about it.
Why do we stop playing? Why do we fill our days with things that leave us feeling vaguely dissatisfied and slightly bored? Why don’t we just go out and see what happens? Why do we have plans and schedules and lists. Oh my gosh the lists! Obviously you can’t quit work and do nothing but amuse yourself, but I know I’m about as far from amusing myself as I’ve ever been. I’m not unhappy. I’m not mad. I’m not frustrated. I just feel like I’m missing something. I remember how it felt to fall asleep worn out from a great day and I haven’t felt that way for a long time. So it’s time to stop and think about the choices I’m making and how they don’t seem to be bringing me the joy I’d like in my life. Maybe it’s time to make some new choices.