A big trend that had adults spinning in circles (literally) over the last year is Hula Hooping. If you attend outdoor music festivals or similar events, you will undoubtedly come across a bunch of adults playing with hoops. These large gaping holes come in a rich array of eye-catching colors, sizes and some even light up. While it is all very beautiful and mesmerizing to watch, what really struck me was when a friend of mine commented, “I think it’s become so popular now because we don’t play anymore as adults.”
It’s sad but true. When we were kids, our parents could throw us on a sandy beach with a bucket and we would be entertained for hours. 20 years later, on that same beach, we might still use the bucket but only to transport industrial amounts of alcohol in it, as we lay like beached mammals passively sunning ourselves, and worrying about getting sand in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, the booze is great, but it shouldn’t be the only accessory to adult play.
Luckily though, not all youthful games have been buried with our childhood. Hula Hoops are back with a vengeance, and apparently if adults are going to hoop, they are going to do it with flair. I personally took up hooping a few months ago and I looked into purchasing an LED hoop. If you’ve seen one of these bad boys in action, you won’t bother asking why. It is literally like opening a portal to another dimension where rainbows give birth. The price tags on some of these items are a little steep, though. On a certain website, one particularly bright, pulsating circle of retina-burning colors ran for nearly 300$! Sure you could get cheaper hoops, but without the threat of a seizure, where was the fun?
What surprised me was the sheer number of items on this site specifically made for us grown-ups to mess about. I stumbled across an LED Levitation Wand; a pulsating stick you manipulate through a string that goes around your finger so that it literally looks like you are a wizard, playing with your wand. It was very touching to find that there were still manufacturers out there driven to nurture our imagination (and scare or fascinate intoxicated souls with an electric orgy of night-stabbing LED).
The market for grown-up entertainment certainly seems to be burgeoning. Another activity that has exploded recently is the adult coloring book. It seems that overnight, the trend swept the globe and many of us clamored to buy our pens and books and proceeded to relive our youthful pastimes. Dubbed as part of the “Peter Pan Market” by The New Yorker, it is clear that playtime for adults is catching on as a positive, growing trend.
I looked into the benefits of adult play and after dodging a few porn sites, I finally found substantial evidence that play is good for grown-ups. Play makes us happy, releases pent up energy, nurtures our creativity, and essentially separates us from drones. If we neglect our play, we will undoubtedly evolve into uninspired, dull, foul breathed Vogons from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Some of us have already transformed; I face many a corporate Vogon who spend most of their time fretting over idiotic things like the historical significance of paper clips while strapped to modern-day torture devices called office chairs, while a whole universe exists outside their window.
It doesn’t have to be hooping. If you can’t bear the thought of being silly in public, there are other activities you can pursue. Yet if you can commit yourself to a few hours of play a week, you will soon become a happier, healthier person. Just be wary when you search for “adult toys” on the internet.