By Guest Blogger Kyle Ruffin
It felt like you were flying. There was something about the simple movement of swinging back and forth, somewhat out of control, that brought about amazing joy when you were a kid. So much so that writing about it is bringing back a little of that sensation.
One day recently, while going about my humdrum routine of tasks and obligations, I walked by a watercolor painting of kids crowded onto one of those 4-person swings. They had so much joy painted on their faces. I thought, wow, I remember feeling that way. A bunch of friends, or maybe even strange kids I didn’t really know, not caring that we were touching and sharing germs as we enjoyed in the simple act of swinging. It was before all our phobias had kicked in. Before Dr. Oz showed us how many germs are on the average kid’s toy. Or before we became obsessed with engaging only in things that would grow our bank accounts. Before we became afraid of embarrassing ourselves or looking silly. Before we started experiencing life vicariously through our kids. It’s just not the same thing.
All the while, we wonder “Where’d the joy go? Why don’t I get the same excitement out of simple things in life?” The kids are having all the fun and we’re feeling empty. I find my excitement these days is pretty limited to sharing a bottle of wine, a meal and good conversation with my friends and family. I do love that, but it’s time to diversify the things from which I derive pleasure. All my physical activity is focused on getting or staying fit – not the joy of movement for it’s own sake.
There’s a lot to be gained by engaging the body in fun stuff. It’s actually good for our precious mind. It shakes loose all those cobwebs and gets the blood flowing to parts that haven’t seen blood in a while. It’s hard not to be present and fully in the moment when you’re throwing your body around. Not to mention how good those endorphins feel.
I applaud you if you’re one of those people Electric Sliding or Chicken Dancing on the wedding reception dance floor? Or if you ski — wind in your face, moving at a speed that’s just out of control enough to feel exhilarating but not dangerous. Okay…maybe a little dangerous. Time for me to join you!
I’m heading down to the playground to see if that swing set my association dues paid for will hold my weight. If not, I’ll track down a hoola-hoop to throw my body into. Some simple fun. I consider it my reward for all the time I’ve focused on my bank account.