Be Fearless and Play!
Remember your childhood days when Playing was your top priority? You could run around for hours climbing trees, and playing tag or make-believe. Sunday you would be a prince or a lion, Tuesday you might choose to be a Wizard or a Witch! Why not?
As we grow up and toward our adult selves this play generally turns a bit more structured, perhaps priority lies in organized sport or chess club, art and music, perhaps band was your preferred form of play. Hours upon hours of completely guilt-free play marked the yesteryears of so many like you and me.
So what happened?
Because we've reached this all-important, mystical adulthood we felt the need to not prioritize the greatest goal of our youthful past?
"Mom, can't I got outside and play??"…
Mom no longer makes the rules, You are responsible for You. So, why is it then that we don't play more often? You've finished all of your chores haven't you? You've been dotting I's and crossing T's all week. Isn't it time to play yet?
When we were kids and the world was new and we had much more time to kill, prioritizing play was easy. But why was it so important? Playing has been shown in numerous studies to increase Neuroplasticity in adults. This is the ability for your brain to experience, learn, adapt and recall information. All those times you were playing freeze tag, stuck frozen in an awkward, goofy pose your brain was adapting, comprehending, downloading information on how to better stabilize, and strengthen. All those games of "Simon Says" would test your short term memory and concentration- Simon says "Go play!"
Yes, at the mature age of ___ (fill it in) you surely have a better understanding of how a monkey climbs a tree, so perhaps the need to go try it out has diminished just a bit. But, remove imagination and what becomes of our beloved creativity? What becomes of our problem-solving skills and comradery? Well, the unsharpened blade will swiftly become dull and useless. Which blade have you been neglecting? Did you used to paint? Did you used to play guitar? Did you used to crawl around through berry bushes foraging for Nature's treasures? The importance of play is not only justifiable because it is joyous and fun. It is important because it is necessary to the continued growth and maturity of a human's proper development. In his wonderfully written book "Play," Dr Brown writes that lack of play was just as important as other factors in predicting criminal behavior among murderers in Texas prisons. He also found that playing together helped couples rekindle their relationship and explore other forms of emotional intimacy.
But of course, we have our excuses. We have lists upon lists of excuses as to why we cannot find time to play:
I've got too much work to do"
I'm too tired."
Nah, I don't want to get sweaty."
I could get hurt."
And my personal favorite-
"I really shouldn't " Which of course, isn't even an actual excuse but instead, a verbal flow of your subconscious thought process. This is the worst excuse of all because it forces you from playing simply by guilting you away. "I really shouldn't" translates to "No, I really don't deserve it." The problem with this, is once we start to follow this habit of denying ourselves our play time, we begin to truly start believing that we actually don't deserve it. The more we believe that we don't deserve our rewards, the more we will stop expecting them. And if we never expect to be rewarded then the entire universe will begin to oblige. Your expectations will define your life's outcomes day by day on both small and large scales alike (for more on expectations defining your life check out my blog Act like You've been There).
I'm here to tell you a little secret…
You do deserve it. You deserve to play! You really should! And you don't need to justify it to anyone. Life is short, you work hard, go spend some time doing something that you enjoy. Perhaps this play has absolutely nothing to do with "tangible productivity-" Even better!! and does not have to do with productivity in any way.
Be fearless and play!
For the sake of your brain- play! For the sake of your body-play! For the sake of your happiness and because you will not let down the little boy or girl who still looks through the same two eyes as You! Play.