Thursday, 26 July 2012

Never Leave the Playground*

Have you ever noticed how the same injury is diagnosed in various ways dependent on your age?  When you get injured as a youth the diagnosis is that "kids will be kids".  If you get injured in your middle years onward you are told you are "too old to do it/it's arthritis/you're getting on".  The underlying message is that you should slow down!

A similar thing happens when we express our natural desire to seek out novelty.  If you seek out novelty as a kid its the old 'kids will be kids' chestnut.  If you attempt to do new things after school age, your behaviour will be classified as either immature or, the older you are, a 'mid life crisis'.

People seem to forget that seeking out novelty is innate and the natural behaviour of a healthy organism.  Enrichment is fundamental to quality of life.  We are edge feeders.

I pursue lots of things that force me to problem solve, to develop kinaesthetic awareness, that makes demands upon my general 'hustle' - or to put it another way, I edge-feed.  Not just physical things (gymnastics, climbing, Lau Gar), but also more cerebral pursuits (socialising, reading, playing guitar) - although the difference between physical and cerebral is specious.

It started with learning 'tricks' that I had always wanted to do but figured that I was the kind of person who 'didn't do that kind of thing'. This included learning to remember a shuffled pack of 52 cards, solving the Rubik's cube, juggling.  Then it developed to the point where I've been brushing my teeth and/or washing pots with my non-dominant hand, or trying to put shoes and socks on (including lace tying), whilst standing on one leg - stuff I STILL do to this day.  In parallel I started to look at 'bigger' skills like a back flip and handstanding.

I've often thought that a lot of this stuff was mad (borderline OCD), but I enjoy the fun of it - finding playfulness in the mundane.  The novelty, the challenge and the general 'kick' is second only the dexterity and skill they develop.  This isn't an the emergence of a mid-life crisis, this is an expression of self-awareness.

It seems that I am not the only one!

*Hat tip to Escape the Herd

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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You can view the Growingbolder video there, and buy his full version in both DVD and MP4 for download.