As Eva and I proceed along the path to adoption, I’ve begun to notice children at various ages more often. And I’ve noticed how they entertain themselves.
Little children play imagination-based games with legos, cars, airplanes, dolls, dinosaurs or whatever happens to be handy (twig-spaceships are a favorite of mine). We all know that little children do this. We expect them to play this way. But adults? How would we look at an adult who sat at a table playing with toy airplanes, swooshing them around battling each other? We know that adults don’t do imaginary play this way. But why not?
What happens such that adults no longer engage in the story creation process using toys as props the way children do? What has changed such that we do not derive satisfaction from the process?
Similarly, take the case of the teenager. As teenagers, we were capable of spending hours on the phone with friends, delving endlessly into the details of our lives, or talking about nothing. Yet as adults, we tend not to have those long, rambling conversations. Again, I have to ask, what changed? Why did these conversations, that used to fill a central role in our lives cease to be a part of our lives?
I’ve got no answers here, just questions. But I think they’re interesting questions. And I think they may say something about what it means to grow up. And to some degree, I mourn the loss of those abilities.