Today, I have had an epiphany of sorts.
Today, I have come to realise that I have not been the best version of me that I can be.
I have wasted hours and days on fruitless pastimes, which haven’t given me much fulfilment. Now, I’m not talking about the partial satisfaction that, say, watching a movie or TV show might bring. Or even the occasional consumption of cheap supermarket ice cream can bring.
No, I’m talking about those pastimes that feed your soul. I had glimmers of what that satiety can feel like just last summer. For a few days, I was lucky enough to take my son and some close friends off to the woods. There were no plans, other than to spend time with the kids, in the woods doing…stuff. The weather was warm, the wind blew, and the children played. Thoughts of XBoxes and smartphones all melted away and the kids dug holes and played on rope swings and got covered in mud. The trees “felt” green and the earth smelled good.
Time seemed to stand still.
Watching my son and his friends playing in the dirt made me realise something. They still had a chance to have a better and more fulfilled life than the one that I have lived so far. Their perception of the planet that we live on had undergone a vast shift upon arrival in that place. They were not concerned with all of the crap that we, as adults have to live with. They didn’t have financial worries or relationship problems. All they had to concern themselves with was playing in the dirt and being kids.
I remember telling myself that I needed to make these opportunities for play happen, more often than not. To do this, all that was needed was a little fuel for the car, some food and drink and a little imagination. The world, more specifically, the United Kingdom has enough places to visit with children to make a difference to their lives. The benefit of enabling kids to go out and play in those areas are a tonic, not only to them but us as adults too.
Sure, computer games have their place. I know I was in the arcade a lot of the time, back when I was a sprog. But, we didn’t have games consoles back then. We went to the woods and built camps and tree houses and swings. We would play hide and seek, fish for Sticklebacks and frogs-spawn, ride our bikes for miles and forget about school etc.
Those days felt endless.
It is all too easy just to shove kids in front of the TV, watching Spongebob re-runs over and over again. We, as adults have a responsibility to get our heads out of our arses and take the kids out to do something, anything, as long as it is outside and involves being “in the world”.
My son and his childhood are slowly beginning to slip away, kind of like sand running through our fingers. He will be twelve on Saturday, next year, he will become a teenager. I don’t want to hold him back, but at the same time, I want to make sure he remembers the loving, adventurous boy he is. I think I have perhaps another year, maybe 18 months before the hormones begin to flow and he starts to become a man.
So, until that happens, I will make sure that I am the best dad a boy could ever ask for. I’ll make sure that he has time and space to grow and give him many more opportunities to explore the world and all of its wonders.
He will always be my primary focus, but also making more time for him will, in-turn create more opportunities for me to find myself once more.
Until next time, adieu!