Monday, November 4, 2013

Play: Is it OK for adults?

Do we ever get too old to play? What does play look like for you these days? Or don't you ever play?

Being an adult can be serious work. Holding down a career takes time, energy and serious attention. Raising a family takes even more. Our lives can get incredibly complicated, chaotic and stress-filled. So  much so that we can completely lose any sense of fun, joy or playfulness. Play? Is that really allowed?

So when did we lose that desire to play? How old were you when you thought it was too childish?

I loved to play with dolls when I was a young girl. My sister is younger than I am, so I used to think that I played with dolls longer than most girls might because I was "doing it for her"—so she'd have someone with whom to play. Well, maybe. Truth was, I enjoyed the make-believe of it all myself. And honestly, I don't think it was until I had grandchildren that I played "let's pretend" again. What a shame.

Do you remember the last time you laughed till you nearly cried? The last time you got down on the floor and played with building blocks or a puzzle? The last time you read a children's book just for yourself? I knew a marriage counselor who kept a sandbox in her basement and played in it regularly because it was great therapy for her when she just needed to blot out all the cares of couples who came to her with their problems. I remember being impressed that she was still in touch with her inner child!

Now I try to access my zany, playful side more often—and not just when I'm with my grandchildren. I love to laugh—and it's so, so good for my health and attitude. I find children's books delightful and even have a few just for myself!

What can you do today to add some joy and play to your life?

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