Hello Reading Community,
Here is another of the selected columns included in my debut publication, In Through A Coloured Lens, currently available at Amazon.com. As always, thank you for making time for these compositions.
Oct. 13, 2010
At Each Age, Its Own Virtues
Rushing to get somewhere last week in that stressed state we all recognize as a part of city life, there came a rhythmic chi-chip, chi-chip, chi-chip behind me along the sidewalk. Then, there she was, about eight years old, red jacket open to the wind, blue backpack not yet weighed down with the kind of responsibility that comes with the higher grades. And so endearing, with her two little afro puffs bouncing from side to side as she skipped along, making her way home, heading away from the nearby school. Skipping comes with being happy. And young.
Released from my stress by the sight of her little carefree self, without saying a word, I thanked her for reminding me of what it means to still be a child. For you know that if you saw someone five times her age chi-chipping along the sidewalk, knees bouncing up, arms swinging wildly in like manner you would wonder at his or her mental state. Jogging yes, but skipping? No.
It’s always a good idea to cover your milestones at the appropriate time; otherwise, the desire to engage in certain age-specific activities beyond the cutoff date will raise questions regarding mental or emotional well-being. Not only that, but not engaging in certain age-appropriate activities could in the end also mean a life not well lived.
On another day, in the subway, where so much of city life reveals itself, the clap-clap-clap coming from the hands of two little girls playing a familiar game reminded me of how strong oral tradition still is. Does anyone who every played a clapping game remember learning it from an adult? No classroom lesson ever passes ‘Miss Mary Mack-Mack-Mack’ from one generation of schoolgirls to the next, from one country to the next. Yet there they were in the after-school rush hour linking the present with the past, completely oblivious to any of that.
It is to be hoped that we all had our fair share of hours with Miss Mary Mack and the ‘salt-mustard-vinegar-pepper’ of the skipping rope at full speed. It was fun at recess time in elementary school and it is fun to be reminded. How would it be at this point to think of jumping rope as fun and not just something to do to keep our heart healthy, according to doctor’s orders?
A family member who is now in the university years recently lamented that she doesn’t enjoy getting mail as much as she used to when she was younger. Why? When very young people get mail, it usually means a birthday or Christmas card, or some other such joyous occasion. But past a certain age, the only things that come in the mail are bills to be paid. Or worse, reminders that bills are overdue.
Even so, who would turn back the clock if they could? Few indeed would trade experience for time. It’s enough on a nice fall afternoon to receive a little vicarious happiness from some young one skipping along on her own journey.