I often forget just how much I love to play. Play for me covers all aspects of life. If the situation allows for it, why not find the most enjoyable way possible to make it through the day? This could be as simple as cracking a couple of dumb dad-jokes or puns, some light friendly teasing or something far more literal. Running, climbing, jumping and tumbling are all things that I somehow haven’t shirked since my days in the old school yard. We used to laugh a lot. As I’ve grown outwardly and upwardly through time, that youthful love of giving myself to wild abandon has done little to dissipate. I guess it’s not so strange to imagine myself teaching children gymnastics, given that I’m basically just a large child who’s capable of growing facial hair. I’ve always been into playing around, but as a kid who was never terribly active, I had a late resurgence once I realised I could run without immediately winding myself. Suddenly whenever I got the chance I’d bolt about, climbing/crawling/swinging all over whatever.
Over the last few years my greater awareness of my body’s limitations has meant that I’ve been throwing myself around even more. Any time alcohol and playgrounds mix, things are bound to get giggly. I love climbing on top of any kinds of structures, swinging higher than children are meant to go on swings (but not over the bar, that’s très cray cray hombre) and loping around like an unshackled animal. I have a longstanding desire for some kind of massive scale indoor adult playground to exist. My only qualm would be creating an environment where drinking was encouraged, but with the awareness that it’d hike cleaning prices up to astronomical levels. How does one even begin to remove vomit from a ball or foam pit? Think about how great that would be; there’d be trampolines, big padded mats, bars to swing on, ropes and rock walls to climb (wait, am I just describing my workplace?). We’re so often coerced by societal pressure to “act like grown ups” or “behave maturely”. Isn’t the privilege of being an adult the ability to decide how you want to respond to the outside world? When did letting go of that child-like jubilation and ability to give yourself over to the laws of physics become cast aside in favour of pretending that you have any idea what you’re doing with your life?
So given my love of playing, I seek out opportunities whenever I can. At the Crush event last night there was a stripper pole tucked away upstairs. Once I discovered it and everyone else had cleared out from it (I may have been quite liquored, but that doesn’t eliminate all self-doubt), I had a small play (hi mum! Look how your boy’s doing). I’ve always wondered if, as someone who engages in gymnasticish behaviour, I’d be able to achieve any of those awesome techniques I’d seen from my one or two times at strip joints (not even understating things to appear more adjusted. I think strip joints are usually sleazy, classless places that make me feel mega uncomfortable. Burlesque on the other hand…). I tried a basic invert, which was actually not particularly difficult. The pole was kind of slippery, so I found it tough to stay up without slipping to the ground. Super fun to give it a try. I saw people coming, so I got back to my feet and headed on out.
I also discovered a playground right around the corner from my friend’s house. On the way back from a routine popsicle seeking expedition I had a swing on the rocking horse contraption that was clearly designed for people a third my weight. I’m pretty sure your back and face aren’t meant to be touching the ground at each end of your swing. Holy shit, I think I was physically convulsing with laughter. I couldn’t tear the smile from my face and even thinking back now I’m incapable of frowning. There’s a video that you could see on my Facebook page, if we’re that close. If we’re not, just imagine howls of laughter and a face pulled into a Joker-like grin.
I may just be a large child, but that’s integral to my being. If I don’t occasionally accede to my more primordial instincts that don’t harm another human soul, then how am I supposed to look at the world as a place worth enjoying? The older I get, the more value I find in letting go of preconceived notions of what it means to age. Because why should we let the failings of others dictate our actions? They’re gonna be the first to go when the floor suddenly becomes lava.