Can’t Get No Satisfaction
While watching the little monster play since Christmas, I noticed something.
Kids like to figure shit out.
For reals. We have a huge variety of new toys in the playroom. HUGE. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Toys R Us came over, puked all over my house and then left without anyone noticing. The floor is there somewhere; I know because I can feel it under the hard sharp plastic thing piercing my foot.
Anyway, the toys vary from giant flashy thing with buttons and music and teach me the alphabet sounds to simple dolls and blocks and a hamster that squeaks and moves and drives the wiener dog fucking crazy. And don’t get me wrong, she likes them all, but here’s what I noticed:
She generally goes to the flashy shit first, because it’s flashy. It easily grabs her attention. But you what? She moves on from it pretty quickly. Because it’s done its job for her. She could walk over, push a button and instantly get what she wants from it. And then it’s over.
You know what holds her attention? A box. A book. A little Bonhomme plucked off the Christmas tree to walk along the windowsill. Because she has to figure out what to do with it. She has to create a use for this object in her little mind, or a story to act out, or experiment with it to see all of its possibilities. Which is fucking awesome because I just spent like 500$ on presents and I don’t even want to imagine what the grandparents spent.
But it is awesome to see her little imagination hard at work. That little lip coming out as she thinks really hard, and examines her prize from all angles.
So as usual, this became a giant commentary on society, as seen through my sharp parental vision and interpreted through my sleep deprived pregnant mind.
We live in a world of instant gratification. You push a button and the lights come on. You drive up to the window, and they hand you your dinner. You send a text because a conversation is too inconvenient. You ask your parents for something, and they hand it over.
And then 5 minutes later you want something else. We are never satisfied anymore because we rarely have to put in the hard work to achieve things anymore. We overeat because we don’t take time to prepare and savour. We heat and inhale. We overspend because we punch in a code and don’t see the money leaving our calloused hand.
A bottle of wine doesn’t even have cork anymore. It’s a fucking screw cap usually. Even the good stuff.
So here is my advice today, as many of us head back to work after some holiday time: Slow the fuck down. Take the time to do a puzzle, or a crossword ( without the internet) or cook something that requires “from scratch” ingredients. Make your brain work, instead of pushing the button.
Stop and figure out all the ways to use an empty box.
Dust off your imagination, and feel satisfied. Not instantly gratified.