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Capable of Happiness: Human Maturity

By Gillian Pietrowski

Columns Editor

Gillian Pietrowksi

“Human maturity: this means rediscovering the seriousness we had towards play when we were children,” Nietzsche.

As people age, the idea of play sometimes becomes distorted, and we lose sight of the joy that we once found while playing as children. When you think of playing as a kid, it was effortless. We grabbed our toys and let our imagination take over.

As time goes on, we tend to let life get in the way; society has a pretty strict viewpoint on how
we behave and which activities are appropriate for adults. Because of this, some adults feel uncomfortable or fear that they will look silly playing.

For example, when students look at their professors they only see them in a certain setting. Usually, the professors have a serious position when they are teaching, but the students wonder if that is how they always behave. How do their professors act when they are out for drinks with their friends? Do they spend their weekends doing nothing but grading or do they make some room for fun things to do? I understand that when you are at school it is, according to society, appropriate for professors to behave professionally but why not enjoy your job and have fun doing it?

Most of us abandon the possibility of ever playing again as we grow older, which is unfortunate. Play gives us a sense of freedom, creativity, and a burst of joy. When you are older you start to limit what you can do because everything needs to have a purposeful motive and can’t be improvised. Everything to adults, for the most part, has to have a goal or a point. We don’t allow for activities that can simply bring us joy.

Life is too short to live without play. Take of step back from your life for a short period of time where you can allow yourself to give in to spur-of-the- moment activities. Instead of only taking work and everyday life so seriously, try looking at play with the same seriousness. Some people look back on their childhood as their better days, so give yourself the brief happiness of playing once again.

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