I don’t want to play that now

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Health, HowTo, Musings |

I’ve had occasion to watch a young relative, while visiting his mom and dad. We’d sit on a bench and watch him in the park; a very energetic little boy. Sometimes, another kid would come to play with him. Have you met children who look like toddlers but sometimes, speak like adults? Rory was like that. He was about 3 at the time.

A kid would come by, and say “Let’s kick a ball”, or Let’s run around the playground”, and Rory would cock his head, as if considering whether to build an empire, or go back to the sandbox, and give the child his answer.

At some point though, he would tire of the activity of his new friend. He had a phrase which he used on almost every occasion: “I don’t want to play that now.” That was it. He was done. The other kid could say things like “Aw, cummon, just one more ride on the swing”, or just throw me the ball once more!” Rory was impenetrable. He would walk away, on to other things.

Life throws us balls, and swings, and people. We can choose to play, or not. It’s just that many of us, and many of the people who play with us, don’t recognize our right to say “I don’t want to play that now.” It’s a good analogy in my view, because when I observe, I can look at life as a game. This is not a new idea: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” wrote Shakespeare. It is a point of view one can engage. Just step back, and see how the players play their roles. See how you do, too. Perhaps it’s time to go to the casting director and be assigned a new part. After all, we’re in this play for a long time. And just because life is a game, doesn’t mean it’s always fun.

I am comfortable telling someone that I don’t want to play that now, or the equivalent phrase for the occasion. This happens sometimes when friends have a cause or a charity they support. They often feel that since they support it, I ought to as well. If I don’t, the reaction might be that I am a schlump*, or that I’m judging my friend for their interest. Neither is the case. I just don’t want to play that now.

Family friend; local head of blood drive to me some years ago:

She: So, when are you going to donate blood?
Me: I wasn’t planning to anytime soon.
She: What type are you, anyway? We really need some B+.
Me: It doesn’t really matter; thanks for asking; as I’m not planning to donate at this time.
She: You young people are so selfish! Don’t you know there are people dying out there? Are you scared of a needle or something?
Me: I have my reasons; I do care about the need; please ask someone else now.

I heard a lecture last weekend. I hear a lot of lectures as I work for an organization that facilitates them. This speaker addressed the very issue we’re discussing here, and caused me to remember the incident just related. The blood drive person had called me “selfish”. Now, I was peeved at this at the time, because, in fact, she did not know my motivation for not wanting to donate, and darned if I was going to tell her at that moment! πŸ˜‰ The weekend speaker asked “Have you noticed that when someone calls you selfish, it’s because you’re not doing what THEY want you to do? Isn’t that selfish on their part?” —Bingo!

The speaker went on to say: “It’s as if you are enjoying an ice cream cone. You lick it and enjoy it, and then your friend comes along. ‘This is such a good ice cream cone, you really must have some, too,’ you tell him. ‘But I don’t want any,’ your friend says. ‘Oh, but you must! It’s the best ice cream in the world! Here, have a lick!'”

Well, you get the drift. The ice cream can represent anything from a spiritual practice to the theory of evolution. It can encompass expected roles in society, and how to dress for dinner. It can even…gasp…speak to a person’s patriotism.

In the end, we have to let those eating their ice creams enjoy them. We can choose our own flavor without making theirs wrong. We can accept life as the strange and engaging thing it is. And if I don’t want to play that now; I will play it later, or find something even better to play. πŸ˜€

*Yiddish term meaning a person who is stupid, foolish, inept, boring, etc.

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11 Responses to “I don’t want to play that now”

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Beautifully written. Lil A is quite like Rory btw :)!

More than making a choice, it is sticking with it that matters I suppose. To me I make my choice, but not giving up due to various reasons…really difficult! 😦

I’ve always hated how some people will ask you to do something, and when you don’t want to and express that you don’t, they then try to persuade you into doing it. I’ve always been pretty firm on not wavering when I’ve not wanted to play or go along w/ something that I either don’t want to do, or don’t believe in. A lot like Rory πŸ˜‰ Excellent post, and I love the quotes from the lecture, so true!!

I appreciate that, Apar! I can imagine A is a decisive young man, from what you’ve described! You make a good point. It’s not just making the choice. In a way, we make the choice again and again, and if others don’t like our choice it’s more of a challenge. I hope you can persevere! πŸ™‚

I’m not good at being talked into things, nor rushed into decisions, either, Shane. You sound almost as stubborn as me, good for you! (hehe) πŸ˜€ Thank you! I thought the ice cream analogy and the thoughts on selfishness were good stuff! πŸ™‚

This is so true! I don’t know if this will make sense, because I just woke up, but here goes: My mother was taking this very basic, low-impact tai chi class, which she loved. It was for people who were either up in years or had trouble moving, or both. I was happy for her, because she was so excited and enthused about it. Soon however, she began suggesting, then insisting, that I go with her (to one class), so that I might enjoy it too. I didn’t want to go– it was way too basic and not that interesting to me. Mostly, I didn’t want to go because I knew that I didn’t share her enthusiasm for the class and I didn’t want to negatively impact hers. My mother is nothing if not persistent- she kept insisting that I “enjoy her ice cream.” Finally, she pulled the “you know, I’m not going to be around forever” card, and so I very grudgingly accompanied her to the class. I participated and tried to be of good cheer, but as I had known all along, it wasn’t for me. She could see that the movements which were so difficult for her were much easier for me, and that the class wasn’t exactly a challenge for her eldest daughter. She seemed disappointed– suddenly, the class that she loved so much was just another class. She forced her ice cream on me, and in doing so, the flavor became less delicious to her. She never attended that class again.

Moonbeam, if this is how you write when you’ve just woken up, you must be a powerhouse when you’re awake! …which I know you are having read many presumably awake posts of yours.
Thank you so much for sharing the story about you and your mother. The fact that her view of the Tai Chi is now diminished illustrates the point perfectly. We do want to share with, particularly, our loved ones, but in some situations maybe it’s just best to tell them how much you’re enjoying your own ice cream and wish the same for them! I’m just sorry you both had to go through that; but, hopefully a learning experience. πŸ˜‰

Definitely a learning experience for me– for Mom, I’m not so sure. I think she switched from ice cream to vodka. πŸ™‚

Great post and GREAT comment thread. Moonbeam’s wonderfully told story and your words “maybe it’s just best to tell them how much you’re enjoying your own ice cream and wish the same for them!” are like sprinkles on an ice cream cone that I am indeed enjoying. I did just share this post with someone else, but I promise I won’t make her read it. πŸ˜‰ Thank you as always Muse for some of the most original thought posts out there – and some of the most interesting readers.

Oh, Moonbeam! If I didn’t know you as well as I do, I would have been afraid to answer this comment! I nearly snorted my tea out my nose. (not elegant, but accurate) πŸ™‚ My best wishes to your mother!

Ronnie Ann! Thank you so, so much. I have to agree my commenters rock…for example, YOU are among them! …and that Moonbeam’s story enhanced this post greatly. Your comment brought joy to my heart! Thanks also for passing my post along; AND for not making her read it; perfect! πŸ˜€

These comments make me wish we were all sitting around talking about this in person. Hugs to you, Muse, and to you too Ronnie Ann! What a wonderful, thought-provoking post.

Nice idea Moonbeam. Makes me wish the same thing. Maybe one day. πŸ˜‰ I love the way Muse shares such brain-engaging thoughts and yet still leaves so much room for the rest of us.

Again, I’m so appreciative of your participation, Moonbeam! What a tremendous thing it would be, to sit around the fire (when it gets cooler) discussing the finer points or relevant philosophy. {{hugs}} to you! πŸ™‚

I am thrilled when such thoughtful people as yourself, Ronnie Ann, engage each other on my blog! It’s just the best! What a lovely thing you have said. πŸ˜€

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