You know how play is work for children? How play is what forms their brain connections, develops their physical skills and shapes the people they will be? Why do we think that magically stops as we get older?
Life fills up with responsibilities, distractions and “real work”. Part of that is a necessary part of growing up and contributing to our society. We need to take our responsibilities seriously. Each of us has been entrusted with a sphere of influence and tasks to do within that. We
While we accept our responsibilities, there is still a margin within our lives that we can choose to fill with life-draining distraction or life-giving play and creativity. We need to learn how to give priority to the right things, the things that help us to grow, thrive and be fully ourselves. There is a paradox at work: we don’t take time to play because we think we won’t have time for our responsibilities or feel too drained by them and yet, if we make the time for play, we have more energy and focus for those responsibilities. I have experienced this in my own life.
What comes to mind when I tell you to go play? This will look different for all of us. Some of us might pick up a craft. Some may go kick a ball around or go for a walk for no other purpose than enjoyment. Some may find some friends to go dancing. From the simple and quick to the elaborate and time-filling, we have a wealth of opportunities in front of us. Find those small things you can slot into your days. Find the big things that you can plan ahead and set aside time for. It all adds up.
I have been reminded of the impact of this in my own life recently in a way that I have felt a little embarrassed about. This almost feels like a confession! I play Pokemon Go. Sometimes it’s with my daughter, sometimes it’s with people in my community and most times it is just me. It feel silly to be getting so much enjoyment from it but I do. It has had the benefit of getting me out of the house, walking far more than I used to and meeting people I would otherwise never meet. Like any good thing, it needs boundaries and careful management not to get out of its proper priority (especially with my tendency towards phone addiction).
So what is it for you? Maybe it seems silly and you feel embarrassed like I have. Let’s be bold together. Let’s acknowledge the need for fun and enjoyment in our lives. Let’s make that a priority.