Scrolling through Facebook I came across a short video of a rather curious looking little creature: a Pygmy Jerboa. It's got the face of a mouse, the hind legs of a kangaroo and the body shape of a bird—it's utterly crazy and absolutely fascinating.
I watched the video three or four times. The little creature didn't do anything amazing, but just watching the way it moved was spellbinding.
As I continued my day, I received an email of funny and enlightening quotes with pictures. There was one, however, that didn't come with a quote—there was no need for one. The picture showed a bus stop in Montreal where, instead of having a bench for people to sit on as they waited, there were swings.
When I was a child, I couldn't wait to grow up. I used to run up to my grandpa's library, a room with wall-to-wall books and sit at my grandma's desk and pretend it was my office. I'd pick up the phone for important calls. It was one of those old rotary phones with the shoulder rest and everything. I felt so important sitting there with my pens and paper. Other times I'd pull out my grandma's red type writer and type away, loving the sound of the keys as they hit the paper.
I felt important and powerful: the world at my fingertips.
Now, when it comes to paperwork, I find I do everything I can to put it off—especially if it has something to do with numbers! I hate them. Yup, I'm one of those procrastinator types. The times I still enjoy sitting to "paperwork" is when I get to write—which thankfully I get to do a lot. I'm a filmmaker, a story teller. I have to stay passionate about playing. If I don't, my stories will suffer.
Peter Pan and faeries
Peter Pan is one of my favourite stories: the boy who never grows up. I think there's something to that. Now-a-days we look at our lives—ordered with business meetings and aiming to be in high paying jobs by the time we're thirty so we can have the shiny new car, gold watch and expensive shoes. What if we're trying too hard?
More and more I hear about people who suffer from stress and anxiety. In the US alone over 40 million adults are treated and diagnosed with anxiety disorders. It's the most common mental illness in the states. Why?
I think it has something to do with our lack of play. Just because we're adults doesn't mean we should lose our wonder.
A year ago I heard a story about a man who's in his 70s who makes a point of carving out a good section of his day just to play. There was a video of him bouncing on a pogo stick, swinging and playing on the monkey bars. It was awesome and he was super healthy.
Our faces may wrinkle, our hair may go grey and we may have to start wearing bifocals, but what if we all took a lesson from Peter Pan and the real boy who never grew up—the man in his 70s who still plays.
What if we challenged ourselves to start to wonder again?
Take a moment or two out of your day to admire crazy little animals. Go to the park and swing. Keep your inner child alive and live fuller. I'm no doctor, but I think it may just cut that anxiety statistic in half, if not make it a moot point entirely.
Written by Charis Joy Jackson
Previously written for Christian Today