Hide and seek will forever be fun to me. I love it because it’s a simple yet mighty game that requires absolutely no equipment and is filled with anticipation, suspense, and occasional fright. My nephews came over last weekend and we played some hide and seek in the dark after dinner. I feel like it’s easy to forget about the importance of play as an adult, seeing how K and I have never engaged in a game of hide and seek with adult guests we have over for dinner.
Why is this? If we still find playing fun, why do we do so little of it? And I’m not talking board game play. I’m not talking drinking games or yard games. I’m talking games that evoke pure emotion—so potent they allow us to remember moments from our childhood like it was just yesterday that we were terrified of getting our foot flushed down the toilet during a game of “Sneak.” What? You all didn’t play that game where your friend’s dad chased you around and if he caught you, he stuck your foot in the toilet and flushed it? I’m sorry. You missed out on quite a bit of fun.
We know from studies that if an experience is emotional, it locks into our memory; I might not be able to remember what I had for breakfast last weekend, but I can remember missing the bus when I was in the first grade—upset on my walk home from the bus stop because I felt like I failed big time. I can remember my wedding day very clearly; the day I got an acceptance letter to the college I attended; getting yelled at by the horrendous woman who “taught” music at the elementary school I attended; and learning how to drive a car with manual transmission. These moments were filled with emotion.
I wonder: is the amount of memorable experiences we’re having less than before? Are parents chasing their kids around these days, or are they on their phones while their kids play nearby? Are we fully feeling the moments we’re living, or are we distracted by the thought of how we’ll edit and present the moments on Facebook//Instagram//Twitter//Snapchat//Whateverapp?
I fully appreciate what technology has to offer me. However, I know that connecting with people online feels superficial compared to having a conversation with them in real life. None of the countless hours I’ve spent online (whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, email) stand out to me; they tend to blend together. So if I know this, what can I do to continue having experiences that are heartfelt and memorable? Live with intention to do so.
There must be some unwritten rule that says adults aren’t allowed to play. They’re too old. They look silly running around like that. There are too many responsibilities to think about, there’s no time for ridiculousness. The adult ego says, “I am above that sort of thing.” Well ego, I think you’re wrong. I know you’re just doing your job, trying to maintain a respectable sense of self, but you worry too much. I’m not a huge fan of unwritten rules, especially ones that don’t make any sense to me. So I think it’s time to reclaim play. Simple, no electricity required.