Running around to different parks to play around on their swing-sets and jungle-gyms may not have been the most dignified and mature way to spend a Friday afternoon. The fun from comparing Swedish children’s parks to American ones and trying to figure out their strange merry-go-round was worth every weird look though.
“This was the best idea ever, thanks for coming,” Monica Mendoza, exchange student from San Francisco, said.
Turns out we had both been tempted by a weird circular swing-set, but lack of interest from our friends kept us from exploring. After all, the idea of sober college students finding amusement in children’s swings was ridiculous, especially since we wanted to go in daylight. Thankfully our paths crossed and the parks were brought up so a play-date was arranged.
After pictures were taken and posted, comments like “Looks like fun!” and “Wish I could have gone!” started popping up from the same people who shied from the idea. Their sense of self-dignity got in the way of their having a good time and with the cold-snap that came two days later, it’s unlikely they’ll be going anytime soon.
Acting mature and dignified is all well and good, but if it can’t be set aside for a moment’s worth of fun there are a lot of opportunities that will pass by. Is getting your face painted and your hair dyed to jump around screaming at a football game the most dignified and mature way to behave? No, but it’s a lot more fun than sitting quietly in the stands freezing.
Keep in mind this isn’t promoting truly ridiculous behavior. Common sense says self-dignity and maturity can be sacrificed for a good time in moderation. Face-painting or running around a playground trying to figure out how a merry-go-round with pedals works are on an entirely different level than deciding streaking across the lawn of the nearby police academy is a good idea.
Watching from your apartment window and laughing hysterically is a different story.
Of course, this is easier to manage when there is a group going along with it. A class outing to go orienteering was great fun. It was even more fun because a group of us decided to get our faces painted with Maori designs and learn one of the New Zealand rugby team’s haka.
There wasn’t any particular reason. Two New Zealand classmates just thought it sounded like fun and passed the invite around. Six people took them up on it and a good time was had by all. Especially the student teachers giving the lesson, their dropped jaws were priceless.
Finding friends who are willing to sacrifice some dignity for a good time can make any experience more enjoyable. Bus rides trying to figure out how to get to a sport club for a class meeting are made far more entertaining when you play silly games like “I Spy”, going grocery shopping becomes great fun when you challenge each other to read the strangest labels out-loud. There are very few occasions that can’t be improved by the ability to let maturity go on vacation and act like a kid again.
Again though, use common sense. Streaking across a police academy’s lawn is not an appropriate sacrifice of maturity.