How can you recover
your sense of play?
…And why might you want to?
We put so much pressure on ourselves all the time. There is what we do—and don’t—accomplish. There is how we think about ourselves and how we try and present ourselves. There are dreams to pursue and expectations to meet and finances to manage. It is a lot.
I watch my kids. They play. They spray each other with the hose and swing in the tree and pretend to be dinosaurs, all in the span of an hour. Their play is startling in its unselfconsciousness. It allows them to be fully present—that thing we adults so desperately desire but often find elusive.
When my kids ask me to play with them, I should drop what I’m doing and say yes. Their way of engaging with the world fuels curiosity and brings joy. Why wouldn’t I want to share in that? And yet, that particular request makes me tired. I don’t want to play. I want to sit down with a magazine and a glass of wine.
The thing is, I don’t want to be too tired—or too busy or too stressed—to play. I recognize and emphasize the irony that play itself would be an antidote to those very conditions. Play would give me some much-needed down time, would give me more energy, would relieve my anxiety. Doing something purely for the fun of it would help me put down all that pressure I tend to pile on myself.
It’s summer: the perfect time to prioritize play, to reclaim the joy of doing something for no other reason than because it’s enjoyable. What are you going to do just for the fun of it? How can you recover your sense of play?