I remember playing in my first sandbox. I can't remember how old I was, but I remember the excitement I felt at being as messy and playful as I liked. Then came the toys, a little bucket, a soldier figure, and a plastic toy or two. This was great fun as I could imagine and create all sorts of different scenarios, which in my mind were almost real.
Looking back now I remember how the sand box and the toys became less and less exciting. I recall spending less and less time in my sandbox, in fact I actually arrived at the point where I wouldn't play in my sandbox any more. My sand box had become too small.
In time I looked for and found bigger and better sandboxes. Oh, I don't remember now what the next one was. It was probably a tricycle, which was later replaced by a bicycle and then that too was replaced with all sorts of other things. I just kept growing and expanding into bigger and better sandboxes.
The same pattern always repeated itself. First there would be the excitement, the exhilaration at the newness of the new sandbox. But then, overtime this excitement would fade and I'd find myself again looking for a bigger and better sandbox.
How fulfilling, meaningful and life giving is your sandbox?
Sandboxes have many different names; they can appear as relationships, careers, locations and belief systems. I believe having too small a sand box happens many times in our lives. Moving to a bigger sand box helps us expand our ability to embrace more of life's bigger picture. It also builds character. The problem comes when our sandbox is too small, but we refuse to leave it. Or we leave and look for another the same size, and another and another.
Could staying in too small a sandbox be a matter of life and death? I'm reminded of the small town I grew up in. Most of my teen years were spent getting into one jackpot after another. When I was seventeen, I realized I had to leave this town and look for my fortunes elsewhere. This sand box had become too small. A couple of years ago my brother and I were talking about old times. I was surprised to learn that nearly all of my former teenage friends had since died. I wondered at the time if they had played in the same sandbox too long. I also wondered if I hadn't left would the same fate have happened to me.
Creating Bigger Sandboxes
Going to a bigger sandbox is not always easy. Often it can feel quite threatening at first. Even though a new sandbox may appear bigger and more appealing, it can also seem as if there were a huge moat surrounding it, which would require a certain amount of risk taking to get across.
When you were a child you could not play in the sandbox you are in now. It took much maturing of mind, body and soul to arrive at the place you are at today. Like all of humanity you are a work in progress, and this progress is limited according to your willingness to adventure into the uncharted areas of your life. This year challenge yourself to play in a bigger sandbox, one that you would look forward to with excitement and anticipation.