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  • Writer's pictureMatt Young

Find your Happy!

As children all we did was play. Long, endless days of running around without a care in the world, only ever stopping when you were told you needed something to eat or you had to go to bed.

At an early age, emptying the toy box of all its contents and being spoilt for choice about what to play with, was a day-to-day chore. Whether you were building blanket forts or playing alone and letting your vivid imagination take you on a weird and wonderful journey, it was a blissful time.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we regress back to that stage but what I am saying is that as more and more pressure is put on us to conform to the norm and to behave like an adult and to toe the line, we should kick against that. Fuck it. As long as we’re not doing any harm to those around us or it affects our work or our family, we should definitely play more.

I can remember passing many hours on long car journeys by pretending to ride a motocross bike alongside the car. Having to negotiate all kinds of obstacles but yet, in my imagination, never once losing touch with the car that was taking us to some family occasion. Despite having to jump over hedges with no ramps or drive through brick walls, I somehow always made it! I can’t remember the last time I thought about riding a motorbike across a field. OK, I’ve just done it… and it made me smile.

Looking back on our childhoods, it was one massive game. Why did that stop? We all have to grow up at some point, don’t we? NO! Agreed, we should all learn how to cope in an adult world and carry out those essential tasks like earning money and paying bills, but apart from that, why did we stop playing?

Back to my childhood… I remember setting myself little goals that I had to achieve as I walked along the pavement and for some reason, it was mainly on my way back from the shops after finishing my paper round. I would say to myself, “OK, you have to get to that telegraph pole before that car does, or else”. I would then proceed to sprint to said pole like my life depended on it. Most of the time, I’d make it before the car, surprisingly. Of course, I’d rarely set myself an unrealistic target with the car having to travel around 100 metres, whilst me on foot would only have to achieve 10 metres. ‘Bingo’, another win for me.

I don’t really remember what the consequences would be if I’d not won but in the big scheme of things, it didn’t matter, it has escaped my memory (like a lot of other things these days). I often wonder what the car driver thought of that skinny little lad, sprinting in short bursts and celebrating like Linford Christie winning the 100 metres at the Olympics... brilliant memories.

As I write this, I have Carl Cox blasting out a mix on YouTube. It reminds me of my early twenties, when clubbing was my life. Now, I have no aspiration to return to those days, but a little trip down memory lane every now and then doesn’t hurt. I mean Carl Cox himself is 58 years old and still playing… records! Musicians play for living, DJ’s play for a living, why can’t we all play a little more?

Another example: I saw a guy on a news report the other day who was desperately unhappy; the story was based on his mental health deterioration and how he’d turned things around. He had a young family, a job that he liked and that paid well, yet he’d fallen into a deep depression.

One day, whilst at the park with his young son, pushing him on the swings, he saw someone skate by on a pair of roller blades. All the memories of ‘inlines’ came flooding back. It was something he’d done in his teenage years and he’d loved it. So, he bought himself a pair of inline skates, took himself off to the local skatepark and tried them out. To cut a long story short, he’d ‘found his happy’ again. He takes himself off for a skate two or three times a week now and comes home beaming; his family have a happy Dad and husband once again.

Of course, it’s about balance, but ask yourself this, If I could play more and get away with it, would I? YES! I’m not just saying this, I literally practice this every day. Find your fellow happy people and play.

Find your happy, whatever that is, please find it!

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