You’ve heard the saying, work hard, play hard.
But do we actually make time to live out the “play” portion? We are always busy and preoccupied with working. When was the last time you actually allowed yourself time to play? To let out your inner child.
And I don’t mean to become intoxicated and act in childish ways. I mean to actually let loose, let yourself go and act in a way which feels natural. Where you remove fear of judgment and just be.
Most people think of playing in the sense of becoming drunk with friends, acting foolish and then waking up the next day to laugh about the idiotic things they did. Justifying the behaviors with something like, “BUT IT WAS SO FUNNY.”
If this is you, I am not judging. I am simply just trying to make a point that maybe this type of play isn’t even necessary, and we are cutting ourselves short of what we truly desire in our intentions of play. This type of play can do harm, not only to yourself on a physical and emotional level, but to others as well. We all know how poor decisions can come out of a drunken state. I don’t think it’s necessary to dive into that.
My point is, maybe the type of play we are truly seeking as adults… isn’t the type of play we are actually consuming ourselves with. What if the type of play that you longed for could be obtained from a state of just being yourself? Rather than having to mask yourself with a drug to hide behind because it gives you permission to act “goofy” but then leaves you with an excuse for your behavior.
Disclaimer: I personally choose not to consume alcohol, but I am not completely anti-alcohol. You can choose to drink if you like! I have just seen the detrimental effects it can have and I really dislike what it can do to people. HOWEVER, I do think the dose makes the poison. Even water can be poisonous to us if consumed in excessive amounts. And, let it be known, you can use alcohol in a responsible manner. It just seems most people abuse the term of responsible. Because after all, we are oversized children, we have trouble managing responsibility. We are not perfect, we are human. Dealing with all of the stressors in life is not easy. But I digress…..
With that being said, this is what I define as play. When we are young, we are not held back by our imagination. Our parents let us dream, and get messy. Because you’re a kid, “it’s what they do!” Then once you reach a certain age, and I am not really sure at what age this happens, but you are expected to “grow up.” To act as an adult. What does this even mean? To be responsible and appear as though you have your life together. People start telling you to act in a practical manner, to be realistic and don’t be silly. They start crushing you left and right, until you basically give up on dreaming because THEY don’t see your vision.
Play is doing an activity for no reason except for fun. Play is important for survival. We explore options we wouldn’t have explored otherwise if we hadn’t played. The exploration of the possible. Take in novelty and newness. The opposite of play is not work, its depression.
Go back to the time when you were in the most joyful, playful image that you have and begin to build on the emotion of that into how it connects to your life now. Be empowered through your play and hone that into your work.
Lack of play could affect the brain. Lack of play leads to a lack of empathy. Learned empathy through social interaction with others. Play lights up the brain like nothing else, we get a new sort of connectedness. The power of play is also important for the creative mind to teach us flexibility and adaptation. As adults, we often look to media and materialism for consumption and entertainment. This leads to comparison and depression thinking our lives don’t live up to where our friends are, thinking we are behind or not as exciting.
Put the phone down, turn off the TV, stop reaching for material objects to fill the voids in your life and just go out and enjoy your own life without comparison. Find a way to play. You may find there is more much more enjoyment and content. It is social, creates trust and is a common ground. It increases creativity and can enhance intelligence too.
We were created to play.
Stay curious, stay creative, stay hungry, my friends.
References pulled from article below.