When Was The Last Time You YO-YO’d?
What was the last thing you did for fun that made you happy?
When was the last time that you smiled for no reason at all? Did you jump into a game of jump rope with complete strangers? Walk into a sprinkler…with all your clothes on? Laugh so hard that what you were drinking came out of your nose? Maybe you bought a YO-YO just to have some fun?
This is not an esoteric blog post about reclaiming a lost youth. I am amazed and shocked at the increasing level of anger and hatred that seems to be going on in every town of America. You see it on the streets outside our homes, all the way to Washington, DC and the tone of our national political debate. It’s PERVASIVE.
The other day I was walking my daughter to her swimming lesson. We got halfway across the street when the light changed colors. We hurried across, but a woman in the car at the red (now green) light honked at us, I guess for slowing her down. As we got onto the curb I turned to her, smiled, and waved as if to say “thanks for your patience.” What was her response? She honked again and flipped us the bird…you know, that finger you show people to express your extreme ill-will.
Sure, as an isolated incident we can laugh it off. But these past few years these exchanges of random hostility are becoming all too common. You hear it in the tone of people yelling at servers in restaurants, service staff in stores, people waiting in line for movies.
We are the nation of walking TIME BOMBS, and it makes me wonder how this extreme stress that we all deal with given the uncertainties of our jobs, our homes, and family security, how this is manifesting itself in our own health and personal relationships.
You have to wonder how this rising tide of anger is affecting levels of alcohol and drug abuse dependency, spousal and child abuse, road rage, obesity, the divorce rate, violence in our schools in bullying, conflicts in the workplace such as harassment. It truly is all inter-related.
Clearly the prolonged strain on our society of double digit unemployment, jobs being outsourced and off-shored, our failing education system, our two-party political state of hatred and ineffectiveness…these are all leading us down the road to ruin through anger and unhealthy living.
So, what can we do to reclaim a sense of individual calm, quiet, peacefulness, and a bit of (dare I say it?) happiness?
For starters we can all re-discover what made us happy as children. In honor of July 4th, use the extended weekend to play with a yo-yo or a slinky. Go buy some bubbles, jump in a pool fully clothed. Buy a used saxophone or trumpet, take an art class, pick up that old guitar. Find a friend or stranger to play tennis with. Take a basketball out to the courts and shoot around. Go to the movies by yourself in the middle of the afternoon. Heck, celebrate with a huge tub of popcorn and a soda.
Make a pact with yourself to treat EVERY person you come into contact with in the most civil and friendly of terms, whether a best friend, strained family relation, or complete stranger. You aren’t doing this for others…it’s for yourself.
While you’re at it, spend some time this weekend thinking about the dreams you had when you were younger. It is NEVER too late to revisit your passions. It is certainly NEVER too late to be happy. Try skipping with a child, niece, or nephew, draw chalk on the sidewalk. Go bike-riding.
Take this pursuit of happiness a step further. Remember what you dreamed of doing for a living before you settled on a career of failed hopes and dreams. Rekindle the passion. Find what you are REALLY passionate about AND that you are really good at. Where those two worlds collide…that is your DREAM job. Go for it! If you don’t know how, find someone that can help you.
I dare you. No…I DOUBLE dare you.
HAPPY JULY 4TH!