Yesterday I found myself at the local kids playground with the excuse of having a 4 year old in tow.
My local council have been kind enough to install outdoor exercise equipment (you know, things to help you do sit-ups, work your abs and test your core with little signs to show you how it’s done) in amongst the kids swings, jungle gym and vom-itrons*.
Whilst giving my abs a bit of a work-out, I found myself looking across at all the kids stuff and secretly wishing that I was on them instead. I was remembering what it felt like to swing so high you thought you’d go all the way around or dreaming up adventures of pirate ships and secret jungle hideouts on the climbing gym.
What it was like to just lie back and see how the sunlight glinted through the leaves and marvelling in the magic of a deeper than deep, blue sky.
I found myself asking, “When did I stop playing”?
“When did I start being ‘age appropriate’ at the park?” and “Why is it deemed age-inappropriate for grown ups to play on them too? Like kids have some kind of monopoly?” or “Why do I need a 4 year old with me to make it OK?”
On thinking about it, it didn’t make sense. Why should play equipment only be for kids? As though it’s somehow selfish for an adult to be using a swing when there’s kids around.
Stuff it. I love swings. I love the feeling. I love the slightly out of control whirly-girly sense of wind rushing past your face, the world spinning by, all the colours blurred and the senses alive.
Maybe this is one of the reasons why I feel myself drawn into wild places (yes, even more wild than the local park after Mother’s Group). These places hold the promise of the new, of discovery, of adventure in our city based lives that sometimes lack surprises. They challenge us physically, allow us to feel things outside of the everyday and take big deep gulps of fresh air.
So after my playground adventure yesterday, my new challenge is to find places and experiences to play more in the everyday, in my city life.
Q: What are some things in daily life that bring you a sense of play?
*Vomi-trons : Any play equipment that spins you around until you think you’re going to spew… and yes, I felt like spewing for about 10 minutes after but it felt great!