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Often I need to hear a word that moves me; a word that stops my mind from intellectualising everything and brings me back to the moment. A word that causes my heart to start singing no matter where my head is travelling at that moment. I heard the word carefree used recently and I grabbed hold of it for a time.

It made me feel good. It made me think about the times when I have felt carefree: those Huck Finn days of my youth, summer days down at the beach, days when I was a kid and could wander off until dark, feeling safe and being safe. Days when my parents never worried. Days gone by. Even as I write this word and these words, as I roll carefree around on my tongue, I feel an upward emotional direction. It feels like a rediscovery of my very essence.

Is it harder to become carefree as we become older or is it harder to become carefree in this current age? I suspect it’s a bit of both. Undoubtedly we become less carefree with the more we have to worry about. All the responsibilities we assume as young adults and beyond are going to squeeze out the breeziness of younger days. For men, our egos and competitive natures make sure the last drop is emptied.

‘Sorry, I haven’t time to be carefree,’ may not be voiced but it can be assumed is what’s thought, if not admitted.

Now let’s consider this present age. It seems that everywhere we look – or perhaps it’s because of everything that we read – we are watching our social fabric being ripped apart. It’s amazing how the hard left and the harder right throughout the world, driven into our personal space by technology, are spreading their ideologies of hate, fear, and anger amongst us. Kids are no longer allowed to be kids – they see, hear, and experience stuff that even adults are unable to explain. The air that we all breathe is often tainted with language that is highly sexualised and downright angry. We live in wrenching, divisive, polarising times.

This is how I was feeling yesterday when I was mulling over the word carefree. I was contemplating how the time and tide of life was making it hard to be free of care. As Shakespeare’s Caesar says of Cassius: “He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.” I was thinking far too much.

It was time for me to take my pug, Tuesday, out for a walk; step back into reality for a bit. A man and his dog. It was a typical late winter’s day with a hint of warmth. The sun was switching into spring mode. We reached the park, and it was then that I smelt the fragrance of jasmine wafting through the air for the first time this year. It wasn’t as overpowering as it can be when in full bloom, but it was apparent nevertheless. Jasmine has the type of smell that reaches into our memory banks. Like wattle and old songs, we are reminded of other times, of better times. I was as far from the worries of the world as I was deeply entrenched in them moments earlier.

It was a glimmer of freedom from care. The sort of glimmer that keeps us all going. I thought of the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang: the passive, negative force of Yin and the active, positive force of Yang. I had seen the reality of this theory been put into action.

It is tough out there at the moment. None of us is alone from the tragedies of the world, locally and overseas. Bad stuff happens to good people in our own backyard. Addled minds are causing mayhem and destruction.

But at the very core, this is how it’s always been. Sadly. But step outside physically and mentally for a time and watch how nature and the human spirit are still working in pure harmony. The dog and I came home spiritually quenched.