The Farm: Dreams of a Young Man

People still amaze me. At least, I want them to. At least, I hope they will because above all I don’t ever want to lose my belief in amazement.
I want to be amazed because I still want to be surprised every once in a while. I want to be amazed and see new amazing things, which are not even so new at all.
Take a child for example. I want to see kids play, and I mean really play, not with a handheld device or something automated —instead, I want to watch a child play with a toy that actually needs human interaction.
I want to see kids in a playground, screaming as they slide down the slide or swing as high as they can on the swings. I want to see this and feel as if hope is still alive and not reprogrammed into an app on a cell phone.

Does anybody remember the games like Hide-n-go-seek, or Kick the Can. Do kids even know what Red Light, Green Light is? Or what about Simon Says? Do they play this anymore? I’m sure they do. At least, God, I hope so.

Ever play any of the above as an adult?
If no, then why not?

I wonder if kids build forts anymore or clubhouses. I wonder if kids try to build go-karts anymore. I know we used to.
They were never built to last, and usually someone got hurt, but still, we would basically make an over-sized skateboard with wheels we found someplace; bigger wheels in the back and little wheels in the front on a chassis built from old wood that we found somewhere.
We would use a string to tie to the front axle to steer. We cut up a milk crate for the seat —and I’m sure the finished product never looked as cool as it did in our minds—but nevertheless, we’d build our little dangerous contraption that we built for speed, and then we’d take it to the nearest side street that seemed to be the best hill in town.
We’d take turns riding our little make-shift go-kart until the wheels fell off, or until someone got hurt, or we argued about something not being right, or, say things like, “It’s my turn,” or, “No, it’s my turn!!” and then we abandoned the hill and threw kart in a garbage somewhere.

Adulthood changes things. Age changes things too. And mind you, I am saying this now because my body is sore in the mornings.
I ache now. I have bones that make noise when I first stand up in the morning. And I make sounds too, just like my Old Man used to make agonizing grunts when he’d get up in the morning.
And it’s okay. I’m not too serious and I’m not complaining. I’m just saying I don’t want to grow old.
I don’t want to be this person that forgets what it feels like to have the wind in my face because of a contraption I made, rolling down a hill on a make-shift go-kart. I don’t ever want to be so old that Bugs Bunny tricking Daffy Duck into having Elmer J. Fudd believe “It’s duck season,” ever loses its humor.

Insert cartoon here:

From time to time, I think about the days in the schoolyard at recess. We used to play a game of kickball. Which, I find this unfortunate but I might have to explain what kickball is for some people.
Either way, kickball is like baseball, except, it’s played with a big round ball or a soccer ball, rolled to the home plate by a pitcher and then kicked into the field by the batter.

We used to play this back in grade school. And I remember coming back in after recess. Maybe a little sweaty, but you know what? The rest of the day just flew by. I laughed and I screamed and I played and I had fun. Is there anything else better than this? Because, see, I really don’t think there is and I sincerely believe age does not have the right to come along and take away our glory.

We do not thing s like this in the workplace. At least, not at my workplace; this is why I am working hard to create a new workplace. This is why I want to build my farm. I want to build a place where work actually involves fulfillment and laughter, togetherness and community. I want create something I once belonged to, and yet, I want to recreate this into a place where only age gets old and not us. No judgement allowed.

Years ago, the farm I lived on was a therapeutic community. Back then, therapeutic communities were different from the community I want to build. I want to build a place where kids can be safe and free to play. I want to build a place where it’s still cool to try and build a phone with paper cups and a seriously long string.
I want to build a place where anyone at any age can stay, live, learn, and be whomever it is they need to be without fear of inadequacy.

I want to build a place where mental illness becomes mental wellness and the people that were afflicted or hurt, beaten, abused, or self-abused will have a place to go without any fear at a place where they will be accepted exactly as they are.

I share this idea with friends of mine. Then again, you probably already knew this but anyway, I still need to restate this.
Some of my friends discuss class ideas they have because the problem with school is they never really have the classes we need in life.
We can learn from each other. We need classes like, how to shop in a supermarket, or how to make a dessert that makes EVERYONE happy; how to make us smile, and classes that teach us how to feel free in confined spaces. We need classes like personal empowerment 101 and mandatory recess in which, maybe, we play a game of kick ball and more than anything, we need a community like this because (at least I hope so) this would be the place where depression drowns in the joyousness of our newfound life.

Someone asked me if I would have a no cell-phone policy. And to be honest, the type of place I want to build would be so distracting that technology would be nothing more than unnecessary.
You could use your phone any time you’d like, but my hope would be the phone would be secondary and personal interaction would be primary.

I have been working on bettering myself and my education for a while now, which again, you already knew.
I have news for you though. I was accepted to a class where I can become trained to be a mental health first aid instructor.
I’m working out the details on this but God, I don’t know if you get this or not but it was pretty damned amazing to read the words, “Dear Ben, Congratulations! Your application to become a mental health first aid instructor has been accepted”

There are some details I have to work out. I’m waiting to hear back on a grant, which I filed for to pay for my tuition, airfare, and lodging. Even still, what an absolute honor this is to put me one step closer to this thing I call my dream.

By the way, it’s okay if you’re not into kick ball. I’m sure whatever it is and whenever this happens, we will find a game for you on my farm to make you laugh and to remind you that only age gets old. Not us.

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