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Chaos Theories: Walking barefoot brings out our youth

We’ve all done a double-take these past couple days to wake up and see the sun shining not one, but two days in a row: a rare sight in Athens in the last month.

Not coincidentally, the campus population simultaneously seemed to double in size as people, instead of huddling in their rooms to avoid the onslaught of rain and wind, took to the greens to enjoy the sunlight.  

Besides the usual sunbathers, there have also been people who blend work and enjoyment by doing homework outside, playing Frisbee between classes, and taking aimless, leisurely walks … barefoot.

I think this is fantastic.

With all the pressure that society places upon people to work hard, earn their success and live the American dream, people spend much of their time completing workloads with ephemeral benefits, partitioning their time into meetings day after day after day.  

While there is no doubt that hard work is a virtue that can inspire people to push past false limitations and accomplish great deeds, there is a fine line between meaningful and trivial work.  Often, we falsely assign value to labor that leaves us, in the end, empty handed and wondering where the time has gone.

Ironically, on the other side of the spectrum, there exists the impatient desire for as much output or as little input as possible. We feel a sense of entitlement, or descend into a pattern of relying on others, and so we expect to be given more than what we earn.

Laziness plagues American society as much as overly strong work ethics, and falling victim to one of these outlooks is far too easy.

While both of these attitudes may be problematic, they can also be staved off by doing exactly what people have been doing.

Partaking in the simple joys we are offered on Ohio University’s campus: a patch of sunlight, the opportunity to really feel the ground beneath our feet, the time to take a walk simply for the sake of doing so.  

To participate in such activities is to remain young at heart.  Such joy in people is contagious, and after seeing someone partake of it, I at least find myself keener to do the same.

Willingness to recognize and delight in the uncomplicated pleasures we are offered every day is a habit that begins now and lasts us the rest of our lives.  

This eagerness can determine how we approach our work, friends, family, faith, and it starts with recognizing that feeling grass between your toes can be as inspiring an experience as writing a conference paper.

Granted, this attitude may be easier to indulge in the springtime with a clear sky overhead, but if the rain does return – as it is wont to do – by no means should simple joys be tossed aside.  

After all, what are puddles for if not for splashing in?

Allison Hight is a sophomore studying English and a columnist for The Post. Are you singing barefoot children in the rain? Email Allison at

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