“Do this, think that, get this done, follow this way”. Sometimes it seems that there is a never-ending stream of information and demands coming to us from outside sources, telling us what to do, think, see and feel. As a result we can feel pressured, put-upon, stressed and not in control. We can lose our sense of self.
In the midst of this, how can we live lives from our centre – lives that are grounded in our values and reflect how we want to be? How can we feel that we are choosing and guiding our direction, rather than, as sometimes happens, simply responding to demands placed upon us?
I’ve been thinking about these questions this week, and its what I intended to explore in this post. But as I sit here to write, it’s just not flowing. I’m too tired, and my thoughts aren’t coming together. What I have to say sounds laboured and dull, even to my own ears! So I’m thinking it might be better for all concerned (me, and also those who have to read these posts), if I play hookey instead.
As I wrote this, I wondered if ‘hookey’ is actually a word – and a quick Google search reveals that it is, albeit one with several different suggestions as to its origins. Most suggest it is an American slang term from around 1840, used amongst schoolboys for skipping school.
In 1841 a guy by the name of Joseph Field wrote of the delights of playing hookey*:
And oh! how sweet the memory
Of boyish days, when carelessly
We stole away from home and rule,
Played hooky, and deserted school,
To wander, fancy, fetter free,
Among Pomona’s treasures there
(Heaven, smiling, pass’d the registry)
To snatch a peach, perhaps a pair!
However, playing hookey could also have serious consequences. A Mr Starling began a school and placed the following advertisement in the Baltimore (Maryland) Saturday Visiter (reprinted in the New York Daily Tribune April 30, 1845):
Mr Starlong respecktfully cautions his patterns and the publick that he is a going to teach a school in this town in the branches of larning and the scholars will find there own books as will be well used except them that plays hookey will be licked with the strap – 8 cuts for a big boy and 5 cuts for a little one. For further infarmation, inquire of Mr Pras the sope biler whose darter gut her edication as above.
However, I’m a fearless soul (haha) and, despite the possible consequences, I’m throwing caution to the winds and playing hookey this afternoon. So, instead of what I should be doing, I’m going to make Anzac biscuits and possibly take a nap. And hey – you have my permission to do the same!
I’ll get back to “living from the inside” next week. In the meantime, let me know if you have tips to share on how to live a more centred life. What works for you?
And if you’ve ever played hookey – (and did you “wander, fancy, fetter free?) – share your story in the comments below – we’d all love to hear.
Until next week,
- * from the site https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/238385/what-is-the-origin-of-the-phrase-playing-hooky