Hilly village lanes,
Whitewashed sunlit walls.
The laughter of children.
No matter where in the world you go, no matter how many languages are spoken, and no matter how many times cultures and government clash, the laughter of children is universally uplifting. The mirth of adults can be variously jealous, insecure, sadistic, cruel, or absurd, but the sound of playing children evokes the ideal of a simple and pure act. There are no concepts, no ideologies — only the innocent pleasure of life.
We as adults dwell upon our grizzled complexities, our existential anxieties, and our preoccupation with responsibilities. We hear the merriment of children and may sigh over our lost childhood. Although we can no longer fit into our old clothes and become young again, we can take comfort in the optimism of children. Their rejoicing can gladden us all.
We are too often in a rush for our children to grow up. It is far better for them to fully live each year of their lives. Let them learn what is appropriate to their time, let them play. And when their childhood is spent at adolescence, help them in a gentle transition. Then their laughter will continue to resonate with cheer and hope for us all.
Laughter is truly the best medicine. In taking care of your health, it’s important to relax and enjoy life as much as possible. Drink some green tea in the morning instead of that coffee, and see if your spirits don’t lighten up. Practice meditation and yoga. Make time for yourself, and plan special outings that you look forward to and enjoy. It doesn’t have to be fancy – a trip to the fabric store to admire different fabrics. A walk in your neighborhood, taking care to smile and greet your neighbors. A visit to a garden center to admire the flowers in bloom.
Take time for laughter – the laughter of nature, the laughter of your own spirit, the laughter of your friends and family. Not sarcastic or cynical laughter, but real, honest, friendly healthy laughter. Namaste.
I don’t think I feel much differently about laughter now than I did then. I always take time to notice children when I see them, watch how they act and am amused by their antics. Sometimes they see me and smile, and those children get a big smile back. Sometimes we will then play peekaboo or just looking at each other and then looking away, giggling. Other children become shy when they see they are being looked at, and I try to respect their privacy then. Others almost immediately look guilty and stop what they were doing. Those children I feel sorry for, since they obviously think adults are always judging them. I wonder what their parents have done to make them feel that way.
I miss my own children being small; I miss playing with them. I’m always glad I took time away from work to be with them. I have a golden retriever now and we play a lot, but he is getting older and playing less. So now I long for a puppy to play with.
Enjoy and appreciate the children in your life – and in yourself. If you find yourself playing and laughing, don’t feel guilty and think you should be doing something else. Enjoy the play and the laughter and hust have fun. We all need more fun and laughter in our lives.