Monday, October 13, 2014

Random Thoughts: Why Do We Complicate Life?

It's officially autumn now:
Colder weather, bright colors, less daylight.
I love this time of year (accept the daylight part).
The crisp air smells so amazing.
There are festivals, and harvests that are always fun.
The leaves are a glorious blaze in their final moments.

Final moments.

Some people associate autumn with death. The leaves, plants and flowers dying off before winter.
I never see it that way. All of these things do what they do in order to survive the cold brutality of the coming months. They slumber, waiting for their turn to come back.
It looks deathly: dried leaves and stalks of things that were lush and green only a few weeks earlier. It can feel a bit daunting.
It reminds us that everything comes to an end.
A bit depressing, because that means that we, too, come to an end.
Sometime, it's out there, waiting for us. We don't know how or when, but we know it is inevitable.

Or do we?

I can't help wonder what all the busy-making of life is about? Why do we busy ourselves with the daily chaos of life?
Do we really have to sign our kids up for lessons of all sorts?
Do we have to play a sport, or use a musical instrument?
Do we ever use what we learn in school?
Do we have to keep up with and own all the latest technology?
Must we be seen in all the latest fashions and fads?
Why, when I see so many people complain about the daily things in life, do we do those things in the first place?
Why do we complicate life?

Now I'm not saying that everything we do is rubbish. I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't do anything. I know that a lot of the things we do is for the pure enjoyment of them, or to learn and grow, to push ourselves further than we've ever been before.
I wonder about when it bogs us down, when it overwhelms us, when we wonder why we're doing it in the first place. When we are forcing our children to practice playing their instrument for the forty-sixth time, or to do their homework as soon as they get home, or to push themselves harder during their soccer game. Despite their constant desire not to do those things.
When we don't enjoy it. When it becomes a chore or job, not recreation or happiness. Why do we complicate life?

Life can be so simple. Many of us are so lucky to live in an environment where our survival is so secure, we are allowed to think of and do other things. Recreation in any form is just that. It's a distraction we have the time for because our survival is all set. It is entertainment. Sports, music, learning something new for the hell of it, experiments, philosophizing, religion. These are only some of the things humans have come up with in addition to surviving.
We are a fun bunch. We like to play. With our bodies, with our minds, with our souls.
So, why do we complicate life?

Why did we also have to come up with things like currency, government, taxes, wars? (My children have asked me this question frequently.) With the good came the bad. It's human nature. We are all living with both every day in some form. We work hard to make enough money to pay our bills and taxes then still have enough leftover to play. Always to play, we love it.

Do we raise our children to only survive, or to be good, contributing members of society? Do we force them to learn things they don't like or want to learn or will never use? How does this impact a child?
Everyone is born with strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has their own, unique combination of the two. It's kind of beautiful.
I want to help discover my children's strengths, and help them develop them to be the best they can be and also contributing members of society. Sometimes the chaos of life gets in the way. I have to tell my children that they must to this thing or that thing because it has to be done. They argue with me, or whine at me about it, because they don't understand the reason in it.
Sometimes I wonder what children would do if we didn't ask them to do anything? I know, Lord of the Flies. I watch it happen in my backyard when they play with friends. So they need guidance, obviously. How much is the right amount? Do we push them to do all the things we want them to do? Or do we let them pick and choose, guiding them along the way? I try to understand my children. Encouraging their strengths and giving them tools to help with their weaknesses. I see my job as a parent, not as a dictator, but as a guide and teacher.
Why do we complicate life again?
I think it might be the fear of death. (I know, I sound like the mom in Moonstruck.) It's distraction from the inevitable. Maybe that's just me, although I prefer to live a simple life.

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