A personal goal the last couple of years – and one I plan to carry into this new year— take more time to play. Play with no purpose in mind. Let go of my to-do list, turn off my phone, stop worrying about what needs to be done. Play by myself, play with my friends, play with my husband – play and have fun.
-Richard Feynman, American physicist
I played a lot when my kids were young. Teaching, entertaining, and nurturing the little people in my life brought out my creative and relaxed self. We spent lazy afternoons at the swimming pool and the zoo, baking cookies, hunting for bugs. We rollerbladed and played street hockey. The dining room table turned into a wonderful mess of craft projects.
Then the little people got older – they did more and more playing on their own and didn’t always need or want me to join in. More and more, I served as the chauffeur and chaperone for their play. I watched them play on athletic fields. Besides, I was an adult – I had other things I should do anyway. I needed to be productive and busy and check things off my list.
Gradually, I fell out of the practice, out of the regular habit of REAL, PURE play – letting myself go and just checking out for awhile. I forgot to remember how important it is to create and explore and relax – just for the sake of playing.
-Robert Coles, American child psychologist
So – what constitutes play for me? Being a list maker, I made a list. I have a running tab of fun things I want to do and constantly add new ideas for play – I don’t discount an idea or worry about feasibility or resources. Just a bucket list that I turn to each week for inspiration and planning.
As silly as it seems, play with no purpose used to make me somewhat nervous. It was hard to completely relax when I was thinking of all the things I SHOULD or COULD be doing. But I gradually learned to stop listening to that little nagging voice – I let it go. Playing for pure and utter enjoyment has become something I look forward to, something I need. And guess what – I still get all the important and necessary stuff done too.
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Live to play! Play to live! 🙂
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