When I was a child I remember how much I loved to play. I used to play really hard, no matter what I was playing with. I was in love with playing.
I remember digging in the big bank behind our house, carving roads and towns out of the sandstone. I had little cars that travelled on my roads, I can remember it so well, I can almost feel the red sand making my hands all dirty, and see the veins in the stones as I carved out my cities. I must have been about five or six when this game consumed my days. Long hot summers spent sitting in the dirt making my towns, picking flowers from my mom’s garden to decorate my houses. When I got bored of this miniature world and of my own company, I made larger camps in the veld, with the other kids in the neighbourhood. In those days, it was safe to venture beyond the confirms of our garden. We made camps and played on the ant hills; sometimes we were naughty and would break open the ant hills to see inside, the intricate tunnels fascinated us.
When I was about eleven I remember thinking that soon I would be too old to play, and I would have to pack all my toys away, and grow up. I didn’t like this thought at all, I remember feeling like time was running out, that I had to get in as much playing as I could, I felt panic. Looking back, it is quiet a strange thing for a child to think, but then again I was a serious ‘player’.
I wish I could have told that little girl that her days of playing were not fading away, that she might have to grow up but she could always play. I swopped my dolls and cars for paint and clay and fabric, and continued to play, to loose myself in imagination, and fantasy. I think we all need this in our lives, just because we are all grown up doesn’t mean that we don’t still need to play.