I saw this post on Facebook and it really made me take a moment and think. This is such an important thing for us all to not only remember but embrace and actively practice. Our lives are so perpetually busy these days and we can often feel lazy and not worthwhile if we aren’t moving at full speed all day every day, from the time we wake til our heads hit the pillow in utter exhaustion at night. But why?
I remember being a kid in the 80’s and life just wasn’t like this at all. We didn’t fill our schedules with activity and appointments and play dates and classes and sports and the gym and …..ugh, that’s exhausting just thinking about! Instead, we woke up on Saturday morning and ate cereal while we watched cartoons. We had to wait through the commercials and it was ok because that’s how you saw which new toys were coming out and how you made your birthday and Christmas wish lists. After breakfast, we’d put on our most comfortable clothes (shorts and a t-shirt, fashion icons we were not), grab our bike or skateboard and head outside, where we’d stay the whole day. No plan, no agenda. We’d head out and meet up with our friends and spend the whole day riding and laughing, exploring and using our imaginations to come up with all kinds of exciting things to do. The only time we came back home was to use the bathroom and grab some snacks and a drink, then we were right back outside. Our parents weren’t busy either, they were either cleaning up around the house or relaxing themselves, hanging out with their friends and chatting over a beer. Sometimes we’d all head to someone’s house and swim in their pool or out to a lake for a picnic and swimming. But the common theme of all of these memories is this – no one was stressed or rushing or upset about anything. The parents and the kids were all great, no one had a meltdown or blew their top. Things were just genuinely GOOD.
I sincerely feel for the kids growing up today, I can’t even imagine what it must be like. They have instant access to any kind of entertainment they want: movies, music, video games, social media, even porn for God’s sake! They can access any of this anytime on any of their multiple devices. What a difference from my childhood. We had to wait for our favorite song to come on the radio, grab a blank tape and hit record. We had to wait for our favorite movies to come on once a year and beg our parents to stay up late and watch it on a school night. We had to get a ride to the arcade and wait in a line to play our favorite game. There was no social media and it was great. And we had no idea what porn even was, which is how it should be. Can you just imagine being a kid today? The constant barrage of stimuli coming at you all the time from the tv, tablet, phone, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram. Parents today stick devices in their kids’ faces when they’re infants and keep them so busy with activities that they never have a moment to just think or dream or play. Is it any wonder that when they enter school and are expected to sit in their chair and follow instruction, they can’t manage it? And when they can’t, instead of understanding why that is they’re labeled ADHD and drugged. Bullying goes on today just like it did when I was a kid but the major difference is that once we left the school, we were away from it. It didn’t follow us home on social media. We were able to get a break from it, to spend time with friends and family and get some relief and perspective that kids today don’t get. It’s just crazy to me and makes me sad, honestly.
I’m sure I sound like an old lady, the same way grown ups sounded to me when I was a kid: “Back in my day, things were so much better. You darn kids just don’t know anything!” But I’m so grateful that I grew up in a simpler time. I wish more parents today would remember how innocent and stress-free and relaxing our childhood was and try to give their kids as much of that as possible. For that matter, I wish all the adults would stop trying to out-work and out-busy each other, would stop finding validation in their insanely busy schedule. Life is busy enough so instead of filling every minute of every day with scheduled activity, why not take the day off? Go for a walk, go for a bike ride. Sit outside and listen to the birds singing. Sit in silence for awhile and just be present. Grab a pen and paper and jot down your thoughts, write a story, draw a picture. For your own sanity, put down all the devices and immerse yourself in this world. Take the devices from your kids, go outside and play with them. Life is short and it goes by so fast, don’t spend it staring at a screen or filling every spare minute with scheduled activities. Relax, breathe, laugh, do nothing for awhile, teach your kids to do the same. And give yourself and them the permission to love every second of it.
Copyright 2019, all rights reserved. Image taken from facebook.com/simplify.