Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Entertainment and relaxation - how, where, what?

Good morning everybody. and the good vibes keep on flowing. Life is good, spring is on the way and I'm enjoying a yummy sandwich :-)

Yes, I am going to talk about entertainment, and the fact that it is necessary regardless of age, gender, social class or background. Yes, the prior mentioned can have an effect on what types of entertainment each and every individual prefers, but at the end of the day the point is that everyone needs and deserves a little play time.

I have always been a very social person. I loved clubbing and bar hopping, house parties and frat parties. As long as I was around people I felt as if I was in my element. As the years have moved on my preferences have changed. Instead of bar hopping, I visit one pub/restaurant on the regular. Instead of clubbing I go to concerts and independent film showings and comedy shows. Instead of crazy house parties we now have dinner parties and barbecues. And I still love every minute primarily because of the people I enjoy it with. (Friends give you wings, not Red Bull)

I do however live in a small city and unfortunately the options aren't very varied for those younger in years who would find the dinner parties and stylish pub excruciatingly boring. The clubs aren't what they used to be (part of the reason I don't go to a club often anymore) and there are precious few options if you're actually looking for something to do during the day. No bowling alleys, no mini golf courses. No public library (not for the past few years due to "renovations" in any event) and no gaming arcades. So...these limitations exist and what happens? Teenagers and young adults recreate Project X, consumption of alcohol and drugs run rampant among the younger generation (good grief I sound old) and a sense of hopelessness descends.

The truth of the matter is that EVERYONE needs to be entertained and needs to be able to relax in whatever way they choose. What is crucial though is that the choices need to be expanded. Essentially, how can you know what you like if the only choices you have is (in your mind) sit at home or go to a club/pub/bar and (most probably) drink? How can you know yourself if you're not aware of the other options beyond that which you've never tried? People allow themselves to be limited by their own lack of imagination and sense of fun, and I believe it's largely because of our consumer driven lives, our need for instant gratification, our need to be given instead of us giving.

So, where am I going with this? First of all, if you focus on everything else BUT how to truly relax, then you don't know how, and you'll probably die of a heart attach before reaching 40. Being a workaholic is not a pretty sight, and you're not the only one who suffers.

Secondly, entertainment and relaxation isn't dependent on  going out and spending money. One of the coolest, most relaxing and most entertaining days of my life happened a few years ago, when me and a bunch of friends were sitting around the house on a Sunday. We just finished watching a movie and felt a little bored. Of course going out was out of the question, it was a Sunday afternoon, so the options outside the house were even fewer. So we ended up playing hide-and-seek. A bunch of ADULTS playing hide-and-seek for a good few hours, and it was SO much fun. That night I slept like a baby and the next day had a GOOD Monday at work, no blues to speak of. My point - playfulness is NOT reserved for actual children exclusively.

Thirdly, I'm part of the generation that is bringing the new generation into the world. I'm surrounded by weddings, pregnancies and toddlers. I go to kiddie birthday parties and baby showers. Essentially I believe that my generation should start filling the gaps that exist today with regards to entertainment so that our kids, when they become teenagers don't feel the need to turn to stuff we didn't even dream of when we were their age. We're the generation who can reteach our kids how to play outside and hide the gaming consoles and how to use their minds. So that they don't feel stifled by their lack of options.

Lastly, we need to rethink how we relax. Personally, I have experienced a bit of a reset the past couple of weeks. I started reading again, and ferociously. Two trilogies in a matter of 2 weeks. Of course I still went for a night cap at Garlic and Flowers, and I still attended parties, and I LOVE my sanity sessions with my soul sisters, but I have fallen in love all over again with my first love - books. And I have been sleeping better and feeling better and lighter, and essentially less stressed and more RELAXED.

So what was YOUR first love? Playing sports? Music? Books? Lying in the sun and getting a tan? (Yes, sometimes just being plain old lazy is all the relaxation one needs.) What makes you sleep better at night? What slows your heart beat and removes the anxiety? How do you entertain YOURSELF when you're ALONE? What is clear is that we need to rediscover ourselves and know ourselves, and thus know how we need what we need and in what measures we need it.

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