When I was little, my favorite season was summer. You could find me outside from sunup to sundown and there was no pesky school to interfere with my good time. Playing brought me joy. Running, biking, and enjoying a variety of games with my neighbors was my idea of fun. When school did resume, recess was my favorite part of the day, even though it was far too short in comparison to the number of hours crammed inside sitting at a desk all day.
As I grew older, recess became even shorter and eventually non-existent as it was replaced with what adults felt were more important things. Eventually I caved to society’s expectations and grew up and started earning a living to support my family and myself. Life was filled with work, a mortgage, raising kids, and didn’t leave a lot of time for play. I was exhausted after long hours at the office that feeding and bathing the kids was about all I had energy to do after arriving home in the evening.
Life was about schedules and to-do lists and the only game I played was to see how many items I could check off before more were added. The game that never ends with no reward at the end.
My life consisted of everything that a typical American life would have – a spouse, children, mortgage, pets, and a never-ending to-do list. Given I was on my second marriage and had left behind an abusive relationship, I was definitely living a happier, more well-adjusted life, but I was still what I refer to as surface happy. Everything was in order, but I didn’t feel fulfilled or satisfied as there was always too much to do and far too much stress.
Like most people, I came to the point where I believed there had to be something more than this life of anxiety, debt and hard work.
I decided to start exploring some of those spiritual glimpses I had, those moments when I knew, absolutely knew, that there is something more than me. Something bigger that seemed to support and love me and desired to be of assistance in my journey. That part of me that I often shut down or dismissed in order to take care of the priorities in front of me.
Shortly after I began expanding my awareness through yoga, meditation, and reading for pleasure, I found myself being forced into an auto accident on our curvy mountain highway. This rollover was my wake up call. It provided clarity to what is truly important in my life and gave me an opportunity to change direction.
I realized that if I didn’t start focusing on the things that bring me joy, I would never live a full and purposeful life. I started to invite play back into my daily life by going on walks in nature, jumping on the trampoline, and swinging under the tree house in my sky chair. To my amazement, I discovered that when I spent a little time playing, the things on my to-do list were handled with ease or were no longer important.
It was as if the time I spent having fun expanded my overall time and ability to accomplish things and I became much more productive and happier.
That’s because when life is approached in a fun and playful manner, everything flows. We didn’t come here to prove ourselves worthy, stress out, and have a sense of self, based only on our accomplishments. We came here for the joy of it. To embark on this magnificent playground and discover all the wondrous beauty and magic that surrounds us. My life motto changed from get everything done, then we’ll have some fun, to play and have fun ~ everything gets done.
I have to say, life is much better this way. I left my corporate career over 10 years ago and haven’t looked back. Living a life sustained by bringing more and more fun experiences into it with a goal of extracting as much juicy joy from it before I go. That’s my life plan and it serves me, and others around me, very well.
Everyone will have a different idea of play. You have to find for yourself the things that light you up inside. What makes you giggle and come to life? I’d love for you to share below and together we can experience more playful delight.
If you’re unsure where to start, I invite you to step outside and let nature be your guide.