Tired Senior Discovers ‘Playtime Doesn’t Exist’
By Folake Ojumu
I'm tired. I'm really tired. I'm sitting here staring at the computer screen wondering what in the world I can complain about for two pages and my mind is a total blank. Earlier today, my friend and I brainstormed some really great ideas. We were going to fight against the gap between IB and CP classes, against the FCA and how they subtly discriminate against religions, and against NHS and how they subtly discriminate against the students. But now I can't form the words to effectively rally against those issues. I'm just tired, I just don't care enough.
Hoping to find some inspiration, I spin around in my chair. It's one of those that I used to play with as a child. I'd spin and spin until I got dizzy and tumble off the ride, laughing and holding my aching head. "Stop that, you'll break it," my mother would always say without looking up from what she was doing. Like all mothers, she had a third eye that could spot any wrongdoing that her children engaged in. A voice from the past reaches my ears; "Stop that, you'll break it!" I look over and she's busily reading some papers that she has to sign before the doctors at her clinic can proceed with some medical mumbo jumbo.
She had finished work an hour ago but she was still grinding away at it. I hadn't seen her since seven o'clock this morning; that was sixteen hours ago. She was planning to go to bed at midnight and wake up again at four o'clock. I once asked her why she did it. Giving me a hard look, she informed me that she had things to do and couldn't spend her time playing like I did. Me? Play? I didn't play; I haven't played since middle school. I'd been in school until six o'clock today, trying to meet a yearbook deadline. Once I got home, I had to take the trash out and wash dishes; both were double the usual amount because we had guests. I had to check my siblings' homework; I had to keep them from tearing each other's throats out every ten minutes. I had to counsel my brother whose engagement is falling down around his ears. I had to study math because my teacher doesn’t have time to slow down and explain it to us one step at a time. I had to finish a painting because I had foolishly enrolled in art higher level. I had to find time to vacuum and clean the house because we had more guests coming over. I still had to finish this commentary. I had to wash my hair at some point. My sister keeps calling to brag about all the guys that are falling in love with her. I still had to sleep because I had to go to school the next morning so I could "play" all over again. Mental health day? Yeah right, I've got too much to do. Break? Can't, all my hours are filled. Play? That's funny, that's really funny.
If I take anything from my years of schooling, it's that playtime doesn't exist. Whatever happened to going to school to learn for the fun of learning? Whatever happened to teachers teaching because they love to teach instead of doing it because they'd needed a job with a steady income? Whatever happened to just living life one step at a time? Whatever happened to freedom, to sleep, to playtime? Whatever happened to my life?
Maybe it's genetic, this desire to overwork one's body and soul. Take my mother for example. She's been doing this for years. Maybe it's just that there's too much that people expect of me and they don't seem to realize that perhaps I'm not three people. Maybe it's that I'm doing too much but I don't see how I can stop now; I've made so many commitments. Maybe this is just preparing me for the adult life. Isn't this how grown-ups act, bitter and sullen because they never have any free time? Maybe I should exit life right now, go find a shack in the woods and hide long enough so that they can't find me. They? Who's they? I don't know but whoever they are, they won't leave me alone, they won't let me sleep, they won't let me breathe, they won't let me live. They may fool others into thinking that this is a life, that this is perfect, that is how the world is supposed to work. But they can't fool me, they can't fool me. I know that this isn’t how human beings, how kids, are supposed to live. I know it, I know it.
Maybe. Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe I should pencil in sleep into my busy schedule. Who am I kidding? I have no time to sleep. There's homework that needs to be done.