The other evening my wife was complaining about life. She wasn’t really complaining and it wasn’t about life. She was voicing a lament about TroubleMaker. And it really was less about him and more about his sense of timing. More specifically she was unsettled by how wide the always present gap between what he wants to play and what we need to accomplish is at any given time.
That morning we had been trying to change the sheets on the bed and TroubleMaker had to help. He always seems to need to help. Now I am not sure how much serious research has been done on this but to a two year old playing hide and seek under the sheets is more fun than actually making the bed. The problem lays in the fact that playing hide and seek does not get the bed made. Then there are all the things we had planned for after the bed was made.
This isn’t the first time we have run into this. Two year old children are notorious for having short attention spans and being distracted by inappropriate activities.. Additionally they do not have the sophisticated coping mechanisms we mature members of the species have developed. We are able to sidestep fun very adeptly. In fact, I am pretty sure it has become an almost instinctual reaction to life for most of us. There is after all an appropriate time and place for fun.
And this is not the first time I have run into this issue. I have lived with a dog for the last decade. Max is a schnauzer. That may seem an irrelevant fact, but the Standard Schnauzer is a working breed and it seems like every moment of every day he is ready to play. If I move towards the door, he is ready for a walk. We step outside and he tries to start some sort of game. In his eyes any movement on our part might, and probably should, lead to some sort of new excitement. But he is a dog and does not understand the pressing requirement we have to be productive.
For a time I was mildly interested in Jimmy Buffet’s life, and to a certain degree with Jimmy Buffet himself. This came from time spent reading his autobiography. I found he has an irrational need to enjoy his life. Music, airplanes and fishing, rather than productive endeavours, seem to occupy a great deal of his time.
More and more this message keeps popping up. From Magnum PI to Santa Claus, the great minds of our time keep pointing us towards a new and different way of living. Something apart from what we already know and accept, something that includes fun: a lifestyle that incorporates time for fun.
There is little flexibility built into a typical adult daily schedule to allow for playing but I have learned to make that time. We need to make time for fun, we just can’t allow ourselves too much of it, either the time or the fun.