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Age inevitable, maturity optional

April 20, 2012
By CHRISTINE WEATHERMAN - Community Columnist (editorial@ tribtoday.com) , Tribune Chronicle | TribToday.com

When's the last time you had fun; I mean real fun? I'm not talking about maturely sipping a glass of Chardonnay while discussing politics; I mean the pulse pounding, ''hope no one I know is watching'' kind of fun.

Why do we drive ourselves crazy setting heroic and unhealthy 60-hour workweeks and getting nothing but frustrated, stressed and mentally and physically exhausted? Do we set this pace out of necessity or just habit?

I realize that unless you're lucky enough to be independently wealthy, we all have bills to pay and obligations to meet. It's easy to get bogged down under having too much to do and not enough time, but are we taking the time to enjoy all that we claim to be working for?

We must force ourselves to take a break periodically to enjoy spending some time doing what we love. Do you remember what it is that makes you that happy? Those special few things that make your heart race and your spirit soar?

Why do we lose that youthful quest for adventure? I read somewhere that the human brain does not have the capacity for reason and logic until the late teen years or early 20s. Our minds cannot even develop these qualities until then.

Unfortunately, as we mature and gain the knowledge that actions equal consequences, we also gain reticence but lose the thirst for reckless abandonment. How sad, as reckless abandon every now and then can be a lot of fun.

At this point in my life, I've learned that you have to make your own fun. If not, you will become angry, over-stressed and boring.

As I contemplated the activities that I really enjoy, things that make me feel young and irresponsible, I realized most of them are free or very cheap. They may seem silly or childish to some, but that's the point, remembering how to have fun and not caring who's watching.

I love to play on the swings at Perkins Park, roller coasters, turning my rock music up and singing really loudly, making sand castles at the beach and the Tarzan swing at Willow Lake (if you haven't tried it, you should).

My sense of fun and adventure I credit to my father who showed us how to work very hard but to always have fun too. I fondly remember my dad spending lots of time with us as kids camping at Mosquito Lake, playing Frisbee in the street, swimming and so much more. Dad knew how to have fun and still does.

I remember him telling me he wanted to jump off of a cliff into the water on his honeymoon in Mexico 10 years ago. Fearing for his safety, my stepmother basically told him that was going to happen over her dead body, but you can see where I get it.

I firmly believe The United States should adopt shorter workweeks and/or some form of a ''siesta'' as is the custom in many other parts of the world. Much of Latin America, the Middle East and many Asian countries take a midday break to eat a big meal and rest for a few hours.

During my Navy Reserve training in Bahrain, I was shopping one afternoon in the jewelry district. I was unaware of the custom and was surprised to see all of the storeowners locking up and leaving their businesses.

We must re-train ourselves to stop working at such a crazy, hectic pace gaining nothing but high blood pressure and ulcers.

Make time to enjoy life. It relieves stress, helps retain sanity and keeps you young at heart. Plan a vacation, even if it's just a quick trip out of town for a few days as a change of scenery. Do something foolish and fun. Live a little before it's too late.

Weatherman is a Trumbull County resident. Email her at editorial@tribtoday.com.

 
 

 

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