When was the last time you played?
Was it last weekend, last year, or when you were seven?
Adults aren’t supposed to play. And so when we feel like it, we use phrases like, “let’s go get a drink,” or even, “let’s go dancing, or do karaoke.” (The latter being closest to playing)
However, there’s still a stigma with letting loose enough to truly play. Most adults need a minimum of one drink to let go, dance or sing!
What happened to unadulterated, no holds bar, playing?
Be honest with yourself – do you even know how to play??
A few years ago, while I was building my business from scratch, I felt the world’s pressures build upon my shoulders: working my hardest to generate enough income, not letting the ‘bastards get me down,’ balancing stress levels, while simultaneously convincing myself that if I followed my dreams long and hard enough, I could and would break through (exhausting!).
Fortunately, during this intensity I made a new friend, Danielle.
Danielle didn’t feel these same pressures in life. She often went out, not to get drunk, but to play and paint the town red!
I joined her.
We danced in Whole Foods Market isles, even when we were given odd stares, and in parking garages. We saw a cat on the street and meowed with her. We went to a concert where no one was dancing, and started dancing… five minutes later the dance floor was packed, and we left to do something else goofy, or simply fun.
Beyond that, we climbed trees, flirted with people we met during hikes, and soon, had a whole group of friends who knew how to play. We exercised our ‘play muscles’ daily.
Some weekends I stayed up until dawn at parties (where people were drank kombucha and ate raw vegan food, rather than drinking beer and eating cheesecake – mind you nothing is wrong with beer and cheesecake). I’d wake up at noon the next day happy, and with vibrant energy… perhaps because I played?
Something was awakened within me: my inner child.
And for the first time since I was about eleven, I remembered how to really play.
You must know: You’re not as far away from playing as you may think!
Here are a few tips to get you started:
-Learn to be playful by yourself
-Invite others in your community to play with you
-Play in nature
-Learn to play while moving your body
-Learn to play in stillness
-Stop worrying about what anyone else thinks! They’re too busy worrying about what you think to actually give a darn!
So put down your phone for 10 minutes. And choose one of these items from the list. You have no excuses anymore. GO PLAY!
20 Ways to Play:
1. Dance – like nobody’s watching
2. Garden – but really dig in and get dirty
3. Sing – your lil’ heart out!
4. Swing on a swing set – all the way to Kentucky
5. Shut Your Eyes – and see pictures on your eyelids
6. Roll down a hill
7. Finger paint
8. Color – on paper w/ crayons, or on the sidewalk w/ chalk
9. Climb a tree
10. Tell a secret in your friend’s ear
11. Giggle – hint: it starts with a funny smile
12. Play drums – using pots, pans and spatulas
13. Invite friends over for a “play date”
14. Hang out with small children – do as they do
15. Tumble with a young dog
16. Drive without a destination; explore wherever you stop like it’s the Land of Oz.
17. Winter: ice skate or sled
18. Summer: run through the sprinkler
19. Hula Hoop
20. Make pretend – you’re an animal
In the comment section below, let us know:
Are you playful in a way that wasn’t listed?
If so, how on earth do you play?
And if not, how do you intend to incorporate playing into your daily life?