Life is our playground

8 Oct

After a wonderful day of wine and food tasting we were having a meal with friends when the topic of recess was brought up. We were talking about how unfair and ironic it is that recess is taken away in adulthood when a break to run around and play with your friends is exactly what you need to break the monotony of everyday life. It reminded me of speaking with someone before we came that said, “Italy is amazing! It’s a wine-lovers playground.” Ahh the playground, where children are spinning on the merry-go-’round, flying on swings and laughing playing tag. This is the memory we all have of our idealist playground. But how true to fact are these memories? What about when you’re the kid sweating like a dog pushing your “light as a feather” (or so they would have you believe!) friends. Or the kid getting kicked by not-paying-attention to Suzie on the swing. Or my personal favorite, the poor kid who is awful at sports and doesn’t want to play but is forced into the humiliating process of being picked last. We seem to forget that the playground is not all it’s cracked up to be.

“The world is a playground, and life is pushing my swing.”

-Natalie Korcis

How different is this from everyday life when you are living a life of love, beauty and experience? I’m pretty sure most people think we are here drinking wine floating through Venice on a gondola taking in the scenery. Not hardly! We work like dogs 6 days a week to enjoy small pleasure. It is funny how one minute we are slaving away in the vineyard hoeing all the weeds away from acres of vines, and the next we’re relaxing, overlooking the Italian countryside enjoying a glass of wine from these same grapes. We will be moving rocks, dare I say boulders, from a new field destined for vines convinced this is what living in the desert feels like and the next walking through a medieval town saving drips off of our gelato and smooching with no shame. Everyday is a roll coaster of fabulous highs and rough lows. Of moments in which you are  questioning if you will make it through and ones that you are hoping will never end.

My friend Allie and were discussing on a recent trip if our study abroad experience in Ecuador was really as spectacular and eventful as we have saved in our minds and hearts. We used to say “Our lives” because it seemed like the gods were always smiling on us and our lives just seemed unusually perfect. But were we looking back and pushing aside the times we got lost in Guayaquil at night, couldn’t order what we wanted at a restaurant because we couldn’t remember the words and couldn’t get anyone to understand us and ended up in a brothel (a story for another time)? Do we only remember the good times? And how quickly do we forget the bad? We decided it was a combination.  Of course things weren’t always being handed to us on a silver platter, although sometimes it felt like that. But we took the good with that bad, always focusing on and drawing from the good so that is what stuck.

Peruvian playground

I’m guilty of this with my college experience. I’m a Bobcat through and through. I bleed green and white, love our ridiculously easy fight song and believe Athens is the happiest place on the planet. I find myself mourning my days of Pawpurrs, sorority sisters and PRSSA vs Ad club kickball games. You would be hard pressed to get me to choose anything over Homecoming and when I see another Bobcat anywhere in the world I find myself in a bear hug in seconds. What I have forgotten is term papers, exams and Morton hill. Many of us look at the past with rose colored glasses, which is great! Why shouldn’t we remember the good, but why shouldn’t we also see the good in the present? Throw on those glasses usually used for the past and see today as you might look back on it in 40 years. Take it all in. Laugh when you’re frustrated, smile when you’re sad and experience the beauty of your playground.

Life is the same way. It can be our playground in every sense of the word. What it can’t be is our magical, enchanting playground with butterflies and rainbows. Sometimes we fell and scrapped our knees and fell of the jungle gym and everyone saw our ‘Today is Monday’ undies (Just me??). If we can remember that life is not always as perfect as our memories allow we can stop pining for what used to be and start experiencing what is. Allow yourselves to wake up and be on the playground, our playground. Laugh and sing and smile, but when you do cry, hurt or anger- remember this is your playground!

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