When Did You Last Enjoy Playing?
If your answer was ‘back when I was a child’ we have serious work to do.
Actually, it’s not serious. Nor is it work. Just a different way of thinking to take you into a realm of fun, laughter, and lighthearted ease.
I recommend play for all tired, harried parents, and hardworking people everywhere. You need to have the counterpoint of play to balance the intensity your work requires.
Whilst I know everything you were taught associated playfulness with laziness, and everything unimportant, I believe they got it wrong. Wrong in the same way that sucking out venom from a snakebike is wrong. Wrong in the way that people’s minds are empty vessels that must be filled. They were once considered facts. But with new knowledge we can keep moving on.
There’s evidence that children’s play, and baby animal play, is crucial for their personality development, and survival.
As adults with complex lives and major responsibilities, it’s easy to forego playfulness, thinking it’s non-productive, or out of step with our role in society. That would be true, if all play was indiscriminate. There is a time and a place for everything isn’t there? Play too.
When you are under pressure playfulness is the perfect release. And I don’t mean the martini in hand, expensive night out kind of play. More the play of letting your hair down with people you care about. Literally fooling around and forgetting you’re the CEO, manager, or person in charge.
When I worked as a camera salesman as a young man, the store owner’s mother, Mrs B., would come in once a week with a cake for the staff. At 81, she had every right to keep a dignified air of distance. But when the customers were out she and I would play tag and tell each other silly things, just for a laugh.
Old Mrs B passed away many years ago now. But I keep remembering her kindness and her playfulness with deep admiration and affection.
To forget class and status for just a bit and have lighthearted fun – even in a remark – reaches people. More than that, it breaks us out of feeling burdened and forever saddled with responsibility.
So find things that amuse you. Go ahead. Enjoy something silly, frivolous, and fun. Happiness in the moment needn’t be sophisticated and costly. Just remember to enjoy it with people who care about you. Because a pleasure shared is truly pleasure doubled and playing builds friends.
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