With the negative trajectories of the world all over the media now, this is a good time to urge everyone to think about swings. The simple pleasure of the park’s finest offering. The rush of the rise and fall without ever having to go anywhere. The thrill of the jump from the highest point, if you dared. The achievement of moving ever higher, all coming from you. The freedom to brave a swing without restrictions, regulations or judgement.
When you were young, wasn’t that one of life’s greatest pleasures? So why don’t you use swings now. Too childish? Not fun anymore? Not enough time? People would laugh at you? I defy you to give a swing another chance and not enjoy it.
What’s wrong with swings?
The wonder of being a child is lost as adolescence brings in ideas of shame and what society says is acceptable or not. That negativity may be overcome in drunken stupors and flirtatious evenings with a new love, when you remember swings in a nostalgic instant, but the activity remains fleeting. Forbidden. Parents then push their child on swings, passing the enjoyment down and feeling it only through proxy.
We stop using and enjoying swings when we let ourselves become convinced they are no longer for us. When we tell ourselves we are too old for that. Just as we should stop reading simple fantasy books or watching silly movies. Stop playing games in the park or dedicating weekends to puerile arts and crafts with no particular purpose.
All this is lost because of the need to be more responsible, as though fun is just for children. And when it’s lost, we enjoy life less. We become that little bit more negative. We see problems in the world instead of opportunities to enjoy it.
Everyone trouping off down to a park on their lunch-break and having a good old-fashioned swing isn’t going to solve financial crises or political turmoil. It won’t feed the starving or house the poor. But neither will the grown-up activities of (most) dinner parties and reading satirical news websites. Swings, at least, make you feel alive.
Remembering there are still simple pleasures in this world that have been forgotten, that we can and should be enjoying, might make life a little easier.