Rediscovering Enjoyment through Play and Fun

Many of the things I find fun and playful now are things that I enjoyed as a child:

  • Walking around the neighborhood
  • Visiting friends for a chat
  • Baking, cooking, and sharing food
  • Reading books and talking about them
  • Dancing and singing (poorly)
  • Scrabble and monopoly

I don’t have early memories of my childhood and I don’t remember playing with toys. I remember playing rounders with balls we made from plastic bags, playing jacks and hopscotch, and skipping rope. I grew up with cousins nearby and other neighborhood children would also come over to play. The three memories that stand out for me are:

When I look back at my childhood, I always felt loved. I was precocious and got in trouble at home and school for being rude and we didn’t have the wide variety of toys available today, but we had fun. I had fun with my friends. What I remember isn’t an object (besides Anne of Avonlea) but rather that feeling of being with friends and having fun, or traveling into the magical world of books. That’s a feeling that I can still achieve to this day. I access it when I meet close friends for brunch, go for a walk on my own, read a book that captivated me, dance to one of my favorite songs (or any sound that calls to me), have close friends over for dinner. This is the feeling of enjoyment, a playful feeling where I can be myself without fear of criticism or judgment. It’s a precious feeling.

  • Cooking and feeding the children in the neighborhood from when I was 9 or 10. I remember trying to bake a cake once that never cooked and never quite getting lemon meringue right. However, I had a lot of other successes such as guava cheese, fudge, jams, homemade pizza, cake and fried chicken.
  • Reading Anne of Avonlea. I loved that book along with books by Enid Blyton. Then I graduated to the Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Sweet Valley High. (There was no one who looked like me in those books but I never thought of that. It would be a few more years before I discovered Toni Morrison and other Black authors.)
  • Having a birthday party with my friends one year. I wore a red skirt and red and white striped shirt. I must have been 10 or 11 and it is my only memory of a birthday party when I was a child. I remember getting gifts but have no recollection of any of the gifts. But I loved my outfit, eating cake, and dancing with my friends.

What’s your idea of play and fun? Do you have a special object or a favorite toy from childhood? What feeling does it bring up for you, and what are some ways you can experience this feeling now?

The daily prompt for January 5, for the Bloganuary challenge, was “What is something you wish you knew how to do?” You can still join the challenge.

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Featured image credit: Blytonite at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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