Play – activity for amusement only, especially among the young.
A few days ago, I had what I guess could be called an epiphany about play. And I smiled when I remembered how play used to be years ago when I was so young and had no single care in the world. I`m sure that you still remember those days too. Back then, our only responsibility was simply to wake up and enjoy life. Everything pertaining to survival used to be handled by the ones we love and hold so dear – parents and older siblings (when they felt like caring, I mean). They would ensure that we ate and that we always had enough to eat. Their job was to ensure that we never lacked anything.
But then growth came and we began to get tired of being carried about like babies and cared for like weak infants. Little boys somehow got to know that little girls loved grown, handsome and smart boys (I still can`t seem to figure out how kids grow in their minds). Boys began to talk smart and act responsibly. The Kates, Amakas, and Josephines began to have some level of priority in our lives. We began to want to impress them. High school was the crux of all impressing. We spent time (and I mean it) to impress girls. Remember the days when you had to borrow money from your best friend just to impress her and show her that you were a big boy? Or when that young brother suddenly began to act all big, smart, caring and rich when you two started talking? I`m sure you do. If you don`t, then I guess you missed out on alot then.
I know many will say that those days were the wasted days – days when we did a lot of experimenting with the opposite sex in terms of relationships. I know that the average High Schooler has at least one ex upon graduation from High School. I`m not too proud to say that I fall into that boat, but I do. But, relationships aside, I think I won`t be entirely wrong to say that those were the fun days.
Play used to be a vital part of our lives. We hardly had anything to worry about, except when it was time for JAMB and WAEC. I can still remember the days when I could sleep with a smile and wake up with a smile. These days, I get to doze off and usually wake up with either an annoying headache or terrible hunger. One particular incident happened just recently. I had returned from night class quite late and was terribly hungry and tired. Now, the hunger somehow prevented me from sleeping. After walking back and forth from my room to the kitchen for a while, I decided to prepare and eat noodles before retiring for the night. After putting the noodles on the electric cooker, I decided to rest my head for a while (something I learnt to do a lot in school when my head gets full). Next thing, I was perceiving burnt food. It took my brain a few seconds to boot. I entered the kitchen with sleepy eyes to find my precious food almost totally burnt. Now, I could not cry. I wish I could. I had gone almost 24hrs without food only to have my only hope being wasted. I cleaned that pot that night, regardless of the fact that I might have woken someone up.
Life is not a joke, I know. Life requires planning, careful thinking and accurate decision making. Many of us get so caught up in the seriousness of life that we honestly forget to play. You know those days when play somehow begins to look like an extra three units course or a second job? You are so busy that you forget to even call the ones that are dear to your heart. You begin to forget to care. Now, it`s not your fault. It`s the way that we`ve learnt to condition our minds.
Wanna know why many marriages grow dull and sour? They didn`t stop loving each other – they stopped playing. If you`re currently in any relationship, then you know that play is an essential part of any relationship. If you play in your marriage the same way that you played during courtship, you will tackle the source of at least 30% of all issues that you will have (Please, don`t take the percentage thing serious, I`m no marriage expert). Play is like a fuel that keeps the fire of love burning. If I stop playing with you like I used to, then be sure that our relationship is about to experience serious storms.
So, I present before you an excellent way to live – playing. Don`t get too serious with life. All your precious memories when you`re 80 won`t be formed from the memories of studying through the night with candles and being busy. No! They will be formed from the memories of the days you spent a whole night making fun of your friends, days when your parents spent time playing with you and your siblings, the day when that your special friend used his last kobo to get you a birthday gift that made you cry, days of pillow fights with the girls, and I could go on and on.
Never stop playing. In the words of Eleazar Maduka, “You start dying the day that you stop playing”. Play is an essential part of your life. Don`t ever neglect play. Now, no normal human being would play all day, but whenever you get the time to play, please play like your life depended on it. It is possible to be successful and unhappy. Be successful, play and be happy, folks!