Adults and fun

12 Dec

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Picasso

These days, with the graying of a large portion of the population, we read many articles about how to stay young and nimble minded. This blog reflects another suggestion for adults in maintaining a sense of spontaneity and fun in their life.

A while ago I was at the seaside in Central Italy, living in a small bungalow in a seaside village. We were only a few steps from the beach and in the evening, sitting on our porch; I could see the full moon reflecting its silver glow on the water.

In these villages there are the young families and we middle aged to older adults. Down our little avenue there were about twenty small bungalows. All were occupied by young families with the usual crowd of small children running and playing and exploring everywhere when the families were not at the beach. Then, in other sections, there were the older adults who came to the village to relax, get some sun and generally enjoy the beach environment – constant breeze, cool nights and seeing different friends and distractions.

One of the contrasts in this village was the activities of these two groups. The children were in constant motion, laughing, occasionally bickering or crying, playing, drawing, exploring, digging, inventing games, meeting new friends and chattering with one another. They really enjoyed the opportunity to safely run outside and have new experiences. While the adults did crosswords, sat in chairs, watched the small TV they brought from home, read a book, slept as they tanned, played bocce ball and kept mostly to themselves and their families. Rarely to never did I see the adults smiling, giggling, laughing, tickling, playing or being creative and spontaneous as the children.

What would have happened if the adults began playing hide and seek, go around collecting small pretty stones just because it seemed like a good idea, build sand castles or talk to other people out of interest of possibly meeting someone new? How would their experience of life be different if they colored some coloring books, danced in a silly manner to some music and, in general, laughed and smiled?

What impressed me in observing this dichotomy of living was how the adults, when compared to the children, were just not having “fun”. Perhaps habits, routines, rules, embarrassment, and other considerations, which I am not sure of, has come to restrict the life experiences of adults, taken away their creative, fresh ways of living life and, therefore, their fun and enjoyment of spontaneity in life.

After this stay for a few days, the next time my wife and I went to another beach, I told her, “let’s go run and jump in the big waves” on that windy day. We did and it was easy to laugh and smile and have fun with each other. Not unexpected the only other people laughing, doing silly screaming and jumping into the big waves were the children.

I learned a lesson from the children of the beach village. To really have some fun in life, don’t forget spontaneity, creativity and just silly, nonsensical behavior. Since as one gets older the impulse for spontaneity reduces (for whatever reasons), the best course of action is to do. To act creative and spontaneous and, then, the feelings and experience accompanies the action. Now I could end by going into the biology of the brain and how the brain is changed through interaction/action or even point out healthy body tips regarding laughing and spontaneous physical activity but I think the most valuable thing, provided by the children, I noticed at the seaside was enjoying life through spontaneous fun.

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