Playgrounds and Answers to Life

Marissa - Lexington, Kentucky
Entered on February 26, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children

Playgrounds and Answers to Life

Marissa Elko

It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents.

-Eric Hoffer

I’ve found answers to some of life’s greatest questions hidden under swing-sets, inside of slides, and across monkey bars. I’ve been intoxicated by laughter. I’ve been a child. I roll on the floor, clenching my sides as my legs flail in the air and tears fall down my cheeks. Cackles and squeals have exerted from my body, sounding inhuman. It’s these times when I really feel alive. It’s these times when I recapture my innocence. For a few moments, I stop thinking about all of my problems and release. For just a few moments, I laugh.

Laughs can be silly and beautiful and accompanied by milk through the nose, like a small child’s. They can be low and hearty, like your beer drinkin’, Skynyrd listenin’, pot-bellied neighbor’s. The can crack and shriek, almost breaking the sound barrier, like mine. Laughter can be between two friends over something completely insignificant in the eyes of those around you. It can be shared between acquaintances who are trying to be polite. It can be happy, or sad, or even harsh and cold. The laughter of the universe is a melting pot of different sounds and memories. No matter how wild, loud, quiet, or heart-wrenching your laugh is, your laugh is uniquely you and should be shared with the world.

At sixteen I still love to swing. My best friend Karly and I meet at the little park in our neighborhood and immediately plop down on the swings. We thrust our legs until our bodies are in line with the top of the swing-set, daring us to go higher and enter the world “over-the-top” that so entranced us in our youth. “Close your eyes!” we scream and giggle as our stomachs do flip-flops and tingles shoot through our nerves. Wind sweeps the hair off our faces and paints a cool rush over our skin. It’s one of the greatest highs I know- to fly and laugh and erase the world around me. To be eight years old again, buying matching outfits with Karly from Limited Too and singing Elton John’s Tiny Dancer at the top of our lungs. To be real and honest. To truly live for the first time in my life.

This is why I believe in laughter and childhood, no matter what your age. Immaturity and maturity are both overrated when taken to the extremes. Childhood leads to becoming a teenager when we so desperately want to escape and feel the “freedom” of adult life that we forget about the life we are presently living. By the time many reach that adult life, they want to go back to their youth and live it like they’ve never lived a single day in their lives. Growing up for many entails losing our innocence. We lose our laughter and our silly sense of humor. We lose that person who will get up and dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in public without a second thought. We lose our sense of being carefree. So I say we stop before it’s too late. Let’s go and have fun. Let’s smile to big and laugh too loud. Let’s live our lives the way God intended us to. Let’s go swing.