The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

The Art of Being August 13, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 1:40 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It’s been a while since I’ve actually sat down and written something for this blog. (Sorry to Ashley and Michelle for not keeping up my end of the bargain.) Mostly, it’s because I haven’t made the time, but partly it’s because I’ve been away appreciating the church family camp I’ve gone to since before I was born.

One of the many things that Brown City Camp taught me growing up is what I like to call the “art of being.” It came from my childhood when we would spend a full week and a half with family, having nowhere to escape but to the playground and the (non-disgusting) lagoon. It came from when I was in the youth spending long afternoons filled with nothing but card games and conversations under the big oak(?) tree in the middle of the youth area. That later extended into late-night conversations about the most obscure things in friends’ trailers.

There has always been something about just “being” with friends that I have always enjoyed. Once in a great while, I’ll just shut up and sit back and enjoy the company. If there’s a large enough group, this can go on for some time. I love occasionally stepping back and looking in from the outside at my friends enjoying each other.

I never really understood the concept until college. I participated in it occasionally in high school, but it never really clicked until college. I would be over at a friend’s dorm for a get-together of some sort, and there would be no other purpose to our being there other than to be together. It was a wonderful feeling! Sometimes food would show up, and other times we would just sit and talk for hours on end. It didn’t matter. We were together.

Now, there are rare moments when I can truly appreciate just “being” with people I enjoy. As you go out in the “real world,”  there must always be a purpose to your meetings, and people feel like time together, unless spent “productively”, is a waste. I beg to differ. There is something very productive about building those relationships that you can’t do while you’ve got a specific goal in mind when it comes to your time together. You only see one part of that person, and you miss out on a whole lot more.

What do you think? Is there something beneficial to just enjoying the presence of the people around you?


Chillin’ With the Children August 17, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 12:06 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

A friend of mine once told me that he thinks children are much more fun than adults any day and that he’d rather hang out with them any day. I can almost agree.

One of my favorite things about really young children is the fact that they tend to be wholly willing to accept who people are, where they are in life. At camp this year, I spent nearly as much time with kids as I did adults, partially for that reason.

When you walk up to someone you haven’t seen in a while, the typical greeting is, “Hi! How’s it going? What have you been up to?” Right? Well, at least it is if you’re an adult. The only thing children care about is what you’re going to be doing with them right at that instant, “What are you doing here?”

Greeting so many old friends at camp proved much more difficult than I imagined this year. After about a day and a half of meeting up with everyone, having to answer that dreaded question of “What have you been up to?” with, “taking care of children,” “looking for a job,” or “trying to keep up with loans.” Having to say that over and over started to chip away at my self-esteem, no matter how much I tried to joke about it.

Whenever I was hanging out with the kids, not one of them asked me how my job search was going. Sure, they were some of the kids I watch back home, but still, not one of them asked if I had found a job yet. Not one of them asked why I still live with my parents; they just think, Why wouldn’t someone live with their parents? None of them make me feel as if I lack in potential compared to the person sitting next to me, they just run up and hang off of every one of my limbs (quite literally at times). More than once during camp, I was invited to stay for dinner or stay to play when I was just walking by a lot. I sometimes stayed or took the kids on a golf cart ride to the “Ark Park” to play, but sometimes, I had places to be, and the look on their faces just about made me cave. In contrast to the feeling that I sometimes overwhelm people my own age with my presence, it’s rather touching.

In a way, the Little Prince in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book was completely right. The things that “matter” to many adults (counting money, doing something constantly just to feel “useful,” getting drunk, having a job just to say that you have a job, etc.) are not the things that really matter in the long run. Being passionate about life, caring for the ones you love, those things are important, not worrying about what you do for a living.

While I am not saying that wasting away one’s life doing nothing is something notable, I do think that it is important not to lose sight of the important things that we deal with, the important people in our lives. I know that chillin’ with the kids gives me a boost of self-confidence that I don’t really find anywhere else because they haven’t been bogged down by all the worries and cares in life yet. They generally don’t have loans, jobs, pressure, stress or money issues to worry about yet. They just worry about what toy we’re going to play with next or what new adventure life has in store … and if their friends or “buddies” will be there with them.

And on the other hand, when it comes to thinking like an adult, I think the best part about it is that I sometimes get paid to hang out with these kids.