When you’re a kid, you couldn’t give a shit about dying or consequences. Without realising it, everything you do is:
1) For fun
2) ‘Just ’cause’ (or as us grown-ups say: ‘For the experience’).
When we stop doing things like a kid, we lose some of the best parts of life. Just doing things and not caring about what happens, or what people think, but basically for the fun of it, and just because we’re curious, brings us back to why we are alive in the first place. As kids, and as adults.
So next time you see a puddle, jump in it. When the rain’s coming down hard, tilt your head up to the sky, and open up and count how many raindrops you can catch on your tongue. Next time you run, run like a kid – arms flailing like a pair of poorly-attached windmills and legs bucking out like a champion bull at Calgary Stampede (this is a good example). Try it at the beach; run into the water like that. Bonus points if you do it eyes-closed. More bonus points if you yell and shout and scream nonsense the whole livelong time you’re running. And if you do it at a surf beach with huge waves breaking right there on the shore… you win.
And next time you’re in a forest and can’t see any wildlife, get down on all fours and look closely at the ground. Or get but a inch away from a tree trunk, I’m guessing you’ll see a whole eco-system of ants, spiders or other insects doing their thing. Stuff you can’t see all the way from up where grown-ups usually look from.
I hate the gym. I’ve had three gym memberships in my life. The first one I used twice. The second one 0 times and the third I actually used a fair few times, but it was for rehab of my shitty left knee.
Primal Play is exercising by doing exactly that – playing. It was started by Darryl Edwards and it’s based on the theory that we benefit most from exercises that are functional, realistic, raw, fun and yep, primal. Using our body to do things like jumping on and off things, carrying someone piggy-back style or playing Crab Foot Tag benefit not only our body but also our mind. And the most important thing is that it’s fun.
In Walden, Henry David Thoreau says:
‘I could not but notice some of the peculiarities of my visitors. Girls and boys and young women generally seemed glad to be in the woods. They looked in the pond and at the flowers, and improved their time. Men of business, even farmers, thought only of solitude and employment, and of the great distance at which I dwelt from something or other; and though they said that they loved a ramble in the woods occasionally, it was obvious they did not.’
And to borrow from what Thoreau says about 60 words later, ‘Ay! there was the rub’: being a kid and playing like one is how we enjoy the smallest, most genuine and most special things – those things that are most full of life that make us feel exactly that way: full of life.