For Spring Break my family went to Los Angeles to visit our son, and one afternoon we went to Manhattan Beach to watch the sunset. While we were enjoying the view of a calm ocean, two whales decided to give us a show. For several minutes they kept jumping out of the water and otherwise acting playful. I wondered: why do whales jump out of the water, sometimes the full length of their bodies? No one knows for sure. It looked to me like they enjoyed it, as if it was the whale version of having fun.
And this made me wonder even more… how long has it been since I allowed myself some simple, child-like fun? Next to us on the beach was a swing set and a father was showing his daughter how to swing. While he was swinging, a couple of times I noticed a child-like abandon in this face. Perhaps he was remembering the simple joy of a swing?
Our grown-up pleasures almost always involve complicated equipment or lots of rules. So we work hard at mastering them, showing ourselves that we have achieved something important skill and can now have fun. But does life consist only of achieving? Has simple play become obsolete in our hyper-teched world?
Sometimes it’s a good idea to disconnect from technology for a bit and enjoy a simple paper book, a magazine, or a walk. Social media can wait … really. By disconnecting, we may get a new, unique perspective that we can later bring into our hyper-teched world. Or, like in an earlier blog post, we might notice a rainbow or other beauty that we would miss if we had your eyes focused solely on a Smartphone.
But the point of such activities is simply to relax. We might get some ideas for work, but if that is our hidden agenda probably means we’re not be relaxing. If everything is a gear in the machine of our success, it will get so complex that we may have lost our humanity.