The day-to-day grind of being a human being is challenging for us all. Some of us, who care about others, even those non-human creatures, more than ourselves, feel a burden. Ironically, that burden or challenge creates a lull. What we choose to do to relax says more about us than what we do when we stress or strive. I sincerely believe that.
I do not judge anyone on the work they do or how they live their lives, as long as they fall in between my own definition of decency. I do not believe my definition is any different or holds others to a higher standard but I'm sure I'm wrong. By simply writing it, or saying it aloud, I'm probably disproving it. I do however judge people by how they spend their supposed downtime. As I wrote in a previous post, I do reflect upon my actions quite a bit, and it has recently occurred to me that this is not the norm. Most fall into some mindless chatter or silly distraction, and that is fine, but does it make you the person you want to be, which in turn may make someone else a better person? I could be wrong, but I strongly doubt watching sitcoms betters anyone. This is not to say watching sitcoms is a bad thing or should be ignored. It's confusing; I grant you that.
If money were no object I'd go back to school and simply take classes that interest me and mock the idea that learning has an end. If I craved Mexican food, I'd turn off the laptop and drive to Mexico. If I wanted to understand why sharks come to Cape Cod every summer, I'd drive to Cape Cod and ask. I'd do a lot of personal, maybe even selfish things, but most of all, I'd ask people what would make them happier.
Recently, I have realized that there is this misconception that childhood was easier. That because we lacked responsibility we could be carefree, and the lack of responsibility made life enjoyable. I beg to differ. Childhood is a day in/day out school. We're told "No," more during childhood than in adulthood and constantly being reminded of right and wrong. We also must follow these commands, whereas when we're adults, we can pick and choose which social behaviors we find pleasing and abhorrent. Our childhood is what our adult selves call "political correctness,' which based on most of those I know, isn't something they value. No, what made us happy in childhood was the fact that we, without any true intent, did for others without thinking. Our imaginations ran wild, but we included everyone, regardless of whether or not they were the cop or robber, the cowboy or Indian, or the princess or the witch. Everyone played a role and we grew together. When we were done, we went and told our parent(s) of our adventures and they smiled. That confirmation is lost in adulthood, aside from that which we receive in the eyes of a child.
One of the hindrances of today's world is that most of our interaction is impersonal, and I strongly feel we're passing this down to our children, who need interpersonal connections. Texts, Facetime, Social Media, and even the games we see on TV, computers, and in schools, are all geared towards the self, forgetting that most children benefit from groups, as do adults. It's why I've tried, without coming off as odd or self-righteous to engage more people, which is why the title of this post is "Challenge Me." I feel as though I've mastered the challenge of my relaxation time, and my mind is always whirling about, learning or experiencing something new. But I worry about my shared time. That I'm not being challenged, because people don't really strive to be that smiling child again. I know I'm not, so maybe I'm challenging others.