We went to watch our granddaughter Carly play soccer. She is 15 and 5 foot 7, 150 strong pounds. She is quite an athlete like her father Chris. On the way we listened to a TED talk on NPR about play and how important it is for humans to do so. Many of us work really hard and too many hours in today’s economy to make ends meet. It is sometimes difficult to find time to play. And what is play, anyway? Is it games or other fun activity? Perhaps it is when we allow ourselves to let go and be as spontaneous as possible. Most of us started out in life playing with toys and games. We used our imaginations and created characters and worlds of magic and unlimited possibilities.
As we grew older we were supposed to “keep our noses to the grindstone”, wouldn’t that have been painful? I have played a lot in my life. I grew up playing outside, enjoying all kinds of physical games. Games like kick the can and capture the flag and hide and go seek. I was fast and excelled at those games that included running. Then I “lettered” in high school sports as a teenager.
Even now as I go for my daily walks I make a game of it. I use the Map My Walk app on my cell phone. It keeps track of my speed, and steps and calories burned. Then I try to improve on my performance, so I make it a contest with myself. I think play in whatever form it is; keeps us younger in body, mind and spirit. We can be too serious and sometimes judge play as not as important. I believe in creating balance in life. I have been able to work at many things and still find time to enjoy reading, walking, movies, tennis, watching Hallmark with Lou Ann, cooking, eating Mexican food, singing. public speaking which are all play to me.
There was a hospice volunteer on the radio today sharing what people were saying at the end of of their life. Most said they wish they had played more, spent more time with their family and friends; spent less time working and accumulating. I would encourage everyone to find more time in your life for play; whatever that is to you. Find that youthful spirit you once had and let yourself go! From my playful heart to yours, Thomas