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Why we need to do it.
I forgot how to play.
When a friend or my cousins visited, we would ask each other, “What do you want to do.”
”I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
This back and forth might continue, but we always solved the problem quickly. We never started with a specific plan or outcome. And, for sure, we never angsted over a goal for playtime. Our imagination and resourcefulness slid us across a day of adventures.
We did what came naturally, for fun.
Along the way, we left childhood behind. We grew up. The responsibilities of jobs, family, and the general weight of the world sidelined play.
Based on the number of articles focused on work burnout, productivity, and depression, I don’t believe I’m alone in this dilemma. What happened to those carefree days of running in the grass, chasing clouds, meandering along the banks of the bayou?
Why should we think about playing at our age (and that’s any age past 13)?
George Bernard Shaw gives a good reason, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Dr. Stuart Brown founded the National Institute for Play to study the implications of play, and after thirty years, his work has shown us it is “life-giving.”
Adults who play experience less stress and more optimism and well-being.
Children who are allowed to play are faster learners, more creative, and more socially competent.
Playing as adults doesn’t mean acting childishly. However, it challenges our stodgy ruts to break loose and remember the feeling of play for nothing more than joy.
How do you get unstuck?
This week, I decided to let go of the need to accomplish something every minute of the day. That might include a bike ride through the neighborhood, reading a new novel, or watching the birds flit about the trees.
My favorite playtime? Sitting on the conversation swing with the love of my life gazing at the sparkle of the lake as the sun sets.
What will you do to play this week? You might discover your own “life-giving” benefits.
I offer three reasons why you should play every day.
If you want to dig deeper into the benefits of play, set aside 30 minutes to hear the expert, Dr. Stuart Brown describes why play is more than just fun.
If you need some playful inspiration, why not dance around to Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy.
“Play is the vital essence of life. It is what makes life lively.”
“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Find a little wonder this week, and don’t forget to play!
Thanks for reading. Feel free to forward this weekly note to someone who would enjoy a few words of inspiration. And I always welcome your thoughts, so, please do . . .
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