This entry was inspired by my conversation with a young man a couple of days ago. He is from Smalltown, USA. He recounted the simple ways to pass time in Smalltown: swimming in a river, visiting friends, exploring the woods, boating and fishing. He said that his friends who live in metropolitan areas seem to be oblivious to free activities and at lost in amusing themselves without spending money.
When I was growing up, we did a lot of things this kid have done to while the day away. My friends and I swam in a nearby lake, fished, visited with one another, cruised the neighborhood, and played games such as hide and seek , jacks, tag, and basketball. Occassionally, we made road trips to nearby towns and saved for concerts, plays, and must see movies.
I guess I am bothered by this young man's observation because themessage hit home. I raised my children mostly in metropolitan areas and they became rather unimaginative when it comes to personal amusement. I took them to concerts, plays, exhibits, movies, skate parks and a lot of other paid form of entertainment. I somehow feel that I took away something very vital from them during their formative years by not introducing them to the activities I enjoyed when I was young.
The conversation also made me think about things I love and treasure. I had to go back to an old entry and revisit the list I compiled. Here is the list:
I love: kids, sunshine, sand, surf, ocean, sunset, sunrise, flowers, candles, cheesecake, good wine, ice cream, pasta, exotic foods, smiles, hugs, kisses, laughs, friends, family, nature, fishing, traveling, music, indie and foreign films, success stories, performing arts and culture, books, readworthy articles, blogging, reading J entries, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare, Erma Bombeck, Michael Crichton, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Vanessa Mae, Charlotte Church, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kurt Cobain, and Rod Stewart.
I noticed that a lot of them are free and a few cost money. I realized that the ones that are free such as as: kids, sunshine, sand, surf, hugs, kisses, friends, family and laughs would go to my "can't-function-without" and "can't- live-without" list and the ones that cost money (flowers, candles, wine, pasta, etc.) can go in my "nice-but-not-necessary" list.
I also remembered that the best gifts I ever recieved are those from the heart and not from the store: a mixed tape, my kid's artwork, homemade cards and baked goods, downloaded music, homecooked meals, hugs, kisses, smiles, kind words, recipes, online greeting cards and sappy e-mails.
To sum these up: Yes, the best things in life are still free!!!