He who dies with the most toys, still dies.
He who dies with the most friends, lives forever.
Take a lesson from the Seven Principles of Highly Effective People-only not. I recently found a great website called the “Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun”- just when I needed it. While life abroad is by its nature challenging, that does not mean it's all fun and games. Flouting the rules of another culture is a good way to gain first hand experience with the local prison system. (Remind me to tell you later about my visit with the Japanese po-po on a lonely road at one in the morning. No, not now-later!) Since I can't flout any local rules, which is, face it, half the fun in living in another culture, I had to find a way to have fun without getting arrested, eating myself into a coma or terrorizing small children- which extremely limited my options, since two of those three things I am extremely good at. But, thank goodness for friends who are extremely dedicated to getting me to make a fool of myself-- all for my own good, of course. In the course of my time abroad I have been coerced into dancing on a mountain, lying to innocent bar owners for free drinks, going up a mountain - in the dark, and staring at statues of kappas (little river spirits) who were, to say the least, grossly endowed. Oh, and I got to throw beans at my co-teacher during Setsubon- (I'll explain later. No, really, I will…later.) Fun is where you make it - and is extremely important for our health and well being. The ability to play, to laugh, and to enjoy life is a privilege....and a right. But there have been many times in my life, when I have felt like I didn't deserve to have fun- or when I wanted to, didn't know how. To be liberated requires that we not care about image- a paradoxical situation that can be strangling for many, since we are trained by the media, and society to care about our images, almost from birth. How else will you know the playas from the preps, the stoners from the emos? Even those who ostentatiously ignore it, are still paying attention-otherwise, how would they know which trend to disdain next?
To play like a kid again is something that most of us will never have - we have too many worries, concerns, and fears. (Oh, it's just me, is it? Whaaatever, people. I know better.) One of my greatest memories is of biking up and down my street one golden summer for hours. Nothing to do, no deadlines, no chores. (Ok- it felt kind of boring at the time, but God, what I would give to have that day back now. Wrote a poem about it. Like to hear it? Heah it goes. –anybody here an “In Living Color” fan? No? “sigh”)
At any rate, being able to play is not about being childish, so much as being able to be innocent (and if you think all children are innocent, let me introduce you to a couple of my former students- woo!)
To play tag and be able to participate in life without a goal, which means no winners….or losers. To move freely without rules- or at least rules that can be changed to fit the game, rather than being completely rigid. (Ever try playing street ball with two players…or fifteen?) To be with other human beings without judgment- other than, “It’s my turn!”or “You’re out!” Remember when we used to let the little kids, the dog, the cat, and the kid with the limp play wherever they wanted- without having to be told we should be “inclusive” or be politically correct about it? (I’m gonna get busted for comparing the kid with the limp to the cat, aren’t I?)
Play is the highest accomplishment we, as humans, can achieve. Because when we are playing we don’t hurt anyone, including ourselves- we make others happy, including ourselves. We breathe deeply, and smile fully, and we don’t think-we just are. Learn to play today- play with your kids, kittens, on the slide, on the swings, with your partner (there is nothing so fun and loving as actually playing with someone you love in bed- not sex, just pillow fighting, tickling, giggling..after that, sex is just the icing on the cake.)
Laugh. Play hard, and often, with everyone you can. Tell the world you've "gone fishin" and won't be back until you catch the big one. Blow soap bubbles, fly kites, and kick your feet in the sand. Do all that and more....and when you come to the end of the line, you’ll be able to say with a smile “I win.”
" Unless each day can be looked back upon by an individual as one in which he has had some fun, some joy, some real satisfaction, that day is a loss."
Check out The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun for a good time!