On Easter Sunday, I was lucky enough to spend the day with a little friend of mine, I'll call her Miss H, who I taught in kindergarten a year or so ago and have known since she was a toddler. With her family's permission, Miss H and I spent the day at Melbourne Museum, looking at the dinosaur bones, viewing the stuffed animals, wandering through the living forest gallery and, finally, spending our final our hour in the Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery. The Children's Gallery is a fully interactive, open-ended play and learning space, where children aged 0-5 can engage with science, literacy, maths and other concepts through specially constructed spaces. You can touch everything, there's plenty of room for parents and carers to watch, supervise and play with the children, and everything is appealing and well set out.
As you can imagine, Miss H loved all of it, although her favourite area by far was the "Camouflage Disco", which lights and images projected onto the floor turned her and her fellow youngsters into stripy, spotty, bubbly, leafy, watery creatures spinning around a hall of mirrors. I took some videos of her in the Camouflage Disco and, with her mother's permission, I have included one below.
As she ran around popping bubbles, Miss H was totally in the moment, unconcerned with what came before or after; she was enjoying herself to the max with something as simple as projected bubbles.
When's the last time you enjoyed something like that? Just for the sake of enjoying it, without worrying about why it was fun, what anyone else thought of you or what you were going to do next?
We live in a world that glorifies speed, rushing from one task to the next with no room inbetween, so we often end up tired, frustrated, angry and burnt out with no time to enjoy ourselves. Watching Miss H and the other young ones running around the Camouflage Disco, popping bubbles and following projected animals footprints on the floor, reminded me that it is so important to enjoy yourself for the sake of enjoying yourself as often as possible. Fun and happiness shouldn't be optional extras at the end of the day or once you've finished an important task, they should be every day compulsory inclusions. It doesn't have to be big or expensive either: buy bubble mixture and go and blow some bubbles during your lunch break, take your shoes off and go for a walk through the grass in the local botanic gardens; visit the Universal Laughing Room at Do As One and laugh for no reason other than because it feels good. Put your favourite music on when you get home and dance all around the house, or watch YouTube videos of cats, or babies, or dogs, or whatever makes you smile. Bake a cake for no reason, sing loudly to your favourite song without worrying about whether you're in tune or not, watch your favourite Disney movie (The Princess and the Frog is mine), or paint your toenails bright purple. But, whatever it is, make it fun and do it for no other reason than to make yourself happy.
Miss H and the children around her didn't stop to analyse why they chased the bubbles, they didn't wonder if they should or if there were more important things to do. They just did it for the fun of doing it.
So let's follow their example and enjoy ourselves. Fun knows no age limit and the perception that it is only something for children, or to do be enjoyed only by those who have 'finished' everything is not only ridiculous, it's making us angry and fatigued.
You don't have to like me. I'm not a Facebook post.
Me With No Apologies.