(Written sometime in 2015 and never published…)
I’m re-learning how to enjoy myself.
As a kid, your primary motivation for doing pretty much everything is ‘because it’s fun’ or ‘because I want to’. Slowly restrictions and limits are placed on your desires, and you learn that you can’t always get what you want. So maybe your motives turn into: ‘because I want to, unless I’ll get in trouble for doing it’.
And then puberty hits. Suddenly, your carefree days of maximising enjoyment become a confusing mess of trying to be cool, trying not to stand out too much, and trying to deal with those pesky hormones.
Somewhere in there, I think I forgot what I actually like doing.
Good things somehow were reduced to being rewards for things I actually had to do. You can eat that if you read this. You can go out if you work hard. But I think that’s cheapened the way that I view pleasure.
What if happiness isn’t something you earn, but something you grasp?
Or never mind the grand idea of happiness – just think about the things you enjoy every day. What if we stopped bribing ourselves, and torturing ourselves in the process, and just tried to take responsibility for the sake of taking responsibility, and enjoyed ourselves for the sake of enjoying ourselves?
Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe this would never work.
And I don’t mean to preach the same old carpe diem message, that you should watch more sunsets and learn how to breathe. That’s somebody else’s motto. I just wonder why I don’t do more stuff because it’s fun, or because I want to.
Do I not deserve it? Is that what this is about? Because who really does deserve to enjoy themselves in this life? The rich? The poor? The struggling? The lazy? If anyone ‘deserves’ to enjoy small pleasures, I think everyone deserves to.
So, coming down from the whole philosophical discussion, here’s what this actually means:
Today I ran through a sprinkler on campus, because it was hot, and I wanted to.
Then I went home and ate some ice cream, for pretty much the same reasons.
I’m going to swing on every swing set I come across this year.
I plan to sing in public, wear comfortable clothing, cook myself more breakfasts, and laugh at bad jokes.
I’m not sure why I haven’t been doing these things all along, really.
Life is far too short to not enjoy as much of it as possible.