You’ve heard of adulting school. It’s where those who grew up in body, but not necessarily in responsibility, go to learn the ropes of changing tires, cooking, and doing laundry.
But there’s a flip side to this phenomenon. Apparently, many adults have a craving to be a kid again.
Enter “adult recess.”
“Adults are reliving their playground memories—the good ones and the bad ones—at what’s become known as ‘adult recess,’” or so says the front page of The Wall Street Journal.
Adult recess is not a one-off event. It resides in trendy cities like Seattle and in the midwestern towns of Indiana. It attracts large crowds and return attendees. Paying attendees. For example:
In Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park, about 1,000 men and women turned out for an adult recess one Saturday earlier this month that included kickball, hopscotch and tetherball, along with chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches.
‘I thought back to the last time when I really had fun, and it was these games when I was a kid,’ said Clay Lundquist, managing director of Center Stage Entertainment Marketing, which produced the recess.
But outdoor games aren’t the only thing on the agenda for adult recess:
Some recesses have been brought indoors, such as in Akron, Ohio, where a library branch last year began hosting a monthly adult recess for up to 30 participants who play with Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs, Silly Putty and Play-Doh.
Let’s step back and assess this trend for a moment.
On the one hand, I get it. Life is stressful. It’s easy to daydream about a simpler time in life, when one could get outside, move around, throw cares to the wind, and have fun with friends. We all have fond memories of childhood and it’s nice to indulge those occasionally.
On the other hand, there’s the issue of moving on and accepting adult responsibilities. Do we keep ourselves stuck in the past, unable to grow up and become the responsible leaders of the next generation because we crave an outlet for our inner child?
Fortunately, there is a solution to the dilemma of accepting responsibility but still allowing the inner child out occasionally.
Once upon a time, the twenty-something adults – who today enjoy adult recess – were busy starting careers, getting married, and having children. These milestones made young people embrace responsibility… but children of their own also gave them an outlet for fun and play.
Which of us has not seen a young mother swinging on the playground with her child?
Which of us has not seen a young father throwing a football to his son, or building Lincoln Log dollhouses with his daughter?
Parents have tremendous responsibility. But they also have an automatic excuse and opportunity to have fun and enjoy the pleasures of childhood.
Today’s single, childless adults don’t have that. And so once again, we see them seeking to fill the void of marriage and family with the cheap substitute of “adult recess.”
Is it time our society grew up?
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Flickr-Wendy Berry CC BY 2.0
Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.