As an unschooling family, fun and unusual occurrences are a normal part of our daily lives. Random, “hey, let’s go do this,” and “I wonder what will happen if we try…” are our normal. When my 9-year-old asked to build a fort the other day, this was not a strange occurrence as I am sure it isn’t for most people with little ones. Wanting the fort to be in the common area of the condo we are renting was a touch inconvenient but, “sure, why not.”
The fort has now been up for almost a week. Each day, she has done her homework inside the fort. She has done art inside the fort. She has had snack time, inside the fort. She gathered for family movie time by peeking her head out of the fort. Snuggle time with the dog, inside the fort. Every stuffed animal she has is making their home inside the fort now.
It’s all organized…
What is it about forts? What is the allure? I remember building them when I was little. It was like a private place inside of a vast common area. As an adult, I still love climbing inside forts. Why? I’ve mulled this over quite a lot these last few days. For me, I see a connection to the disconnect. When the fort was not built, everything was in its place. Table and chairs stood cleared off and ready for gathering. The expanse of floor showed the definition of several sitting areas inside our condo. Eating is done over here, morning coffee can be taken over there, gathering for TV time happens to the right. Everything in its place, everything organized and sitting just so. Which is, after all, how someone like me who has a penchant for organization loves it.
The construction of a fort threw that separation of spaces off balance. Constructed of contradictory color tones, multiple chairs, and every spare pillow that could be gathered. Erected now stands a mosaic of vibrant colors, haphazard shapes, and separation, The Fort. A secluded oasis thrown down with no thought to the disruption its location caused holding hours of fun within. I think it’s safe to say that should we, as adults, just walk down the road and randomly want to plop down an oasis for ourselves with no thought to the landscape, ownership, or disruption it would cause, we would likely run into quite a large amount of trouble.
How simple it is at 9 years old to claim your space and create your oasis.
Is your home your oasis?
Many of us think of our homes as an oasis, or maybe our bedrooms as a tranquil sanctuary. But is it? Over the last few years many of us have re-located our offices to our homes. The lucky of us had designated offices to begin with. Others, threw their laptops down wherever there was space and did our best to juggle work and home life. Running from stress filled, anxiety riddled, juggling act days is normal for so many. Often, we lack the ability to truly come down from those types of emotions. In the rare moments we do, guilt is usually present.
Maybe, this is why forts are still appealing to us all. The desire for an oasis, one where the normal things around us are changed by colorful blankets, and playful pillows. One where we are cut off from the cell phones, and client calls, and adult responsibilities. A place where guilt doesn’t travel, as the sense of wonderment and imagination are too strong to allow it to take over.
It has been said that you should strive to create a life you don’t need a vacation from. I agree with that, you should strive for it. That is not, sadly, a reality for many in the moments where they may need it most. It’s great to have the realization that you need to adjust things within your life to create that type of freedom. It’s eye opening, and exciting, and maybe a touch frustrating if you can’t see the way to achieve it. In this moment though, in this time in our history when so many places are still forcing people into secluding situations, I encourage you to think of a way to create your small “fort”. You will be surprised at what just a few minutes within that place can do for your mental state, creative juices, and overall stress level.
Recharge, renew, rebalance…
We all have been so busy, consumed with responsibilities, playing catch up, shuffling kids to activities, teaching, learning, trying to avoid the negativity in the news. A lot comes at us all on any given day. The wonderful invention of social media has finally gone from the blessing of connecting us to long lost loved ones, to a place where we are overwhelmed with negative media coverage, people trying to present “perfect” lives, and advertisements for anything you may whisper while your phone is 3 rooms away. We are, in a sense, over connected to all the wrong things. I extend a challenge to you today…Take the time to build your fort. Shut the social media and cell phones off. Make some popcorn, grab a book or a game and hunker down within that fort. Do it alone, do it with a friend or loved one. Spend the afternoon, make a picnic. Create the space and time to allow your imagination to bloom, and your responsibilities to shut down.
Drop me a comment, email or find me on social media to let me know how your experience was. I cannot wait to hear!