Youssu N’Dour Never Grows Up – Good Idea!

September 3, 2013 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

I watched Jeremy Marre’s excellent film on Youssu N’Dour on BBC 4. Early in the film they played one of his songs with the lyrics “When the children play I shall lead them, and be truly happy.”. He then talked about his lack of a childhood, due to becoming a singer at 13. The lyrics continue, ” I’m going back to my childhood and I never want to grow up.” In an interview he said that watching his children grow up showed him how much he had missed. He saw how his children always had questions to ask and how they profit from life.

I also never want to grow up, but I don’t think I live out my days in a playful childlike way. This would be the best way to live if I could do it. Of course as an adult you have many more responsibilities than when you were a child, and these responsibilities have to be dealt with. Some people ignore them and cause chaos, some deal with them in a slapdash way and cope, and others treat them seriously. I’m somewhere between slapdash and serious. But is it possible to take care of your responsibilities well but in a playful way, so that you don’t have to be ‘serious’ about serious things, but deal with them with flair, joy, and spontaneity. Life would be so much easier and happier if you could.

We have less of a problem treating pleasure and leisure times in a playful way, but all the other activities, which we probably see as chores, we don’t undertake in a light fashion. This is what I would like to do, in future. I think of Yeats’ poem, Lapis Lazuli,

Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
Are carved in lapis lazuli,
Over them flies a long-legged bird,
A symbol of longevity;
The third, doubtless a serving-man,
Carries a musical instrument.

Every discoloration of the stone,
Every accidental crack or dent,
Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
Or lofty slope where it still snows
Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
Sweetens the little half-way house
Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay

I have always wanted to look at life like this, but have never managed it. Why do I walk down the street with more of a scowl than a smile? Can’t I overlook the seriousness of life and instead see the humour and silliness of it? I know if I did that I would be healthier and happier.

Can I do it?

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