My eyes are stinging. My back hurts. I think I have a sunburn. Let's do that again!!!
This weekend, I spent 10 hours cruising the waters of the Salish Sea. The bright light and salt spray assaulted my eyes, the bouncing from the boat jarred my spine, and the blistering sun toasted my face.
It. Was. So. Much. Fun.
All work, no play
Historically, I have not made room for much play in my life. There's work to be done, there are chores to be completed. I love being productive. It is rewarding to start and finish a project. I particularly enjoy tackling an unpleasant or challenging project. Really. The reward is even greater when those jobs are completed. So, I can honestly say that most of the time, I enjoy my chores.
But enjoyment that comes from the completion of tasks is different from the enjoyment that comes from play.
What is play?
This is the definition of play according to the Oxford Dictionary:
play verb to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
Long ago, I dated a very good man. He was not THE man, but he was a very good man nonetheless. He was remarkably good at playing. It stressed me out. If I was so busy playing, when would my chores get done? In the spirit of compromise, I went along with all of that playing. It made me uncomfortable. But it was really fun.
Gradually, with enough practice, I began to really enjoy play. Maybe, just maybe, I preferred it to chores.
This good man and I parted ways amicably after a few years. We kept in touch, and during one phone call, he asked what I was doing for fun. I hesitated and realized that I had reverted to my wicked ways, and while I was finding enjoyment in life, it came exclusively from completing projects, and none from simple play. I told him this, and after a pause, he replied with genuine sadness in his voice, "That's too bad."
Those words ring in my ears.
It is too bad. I lost, or at least misplaced, my ability to play.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to play. I have an unfathomably long chore list, and I didn't hesitate with my decision. I chose to play.
Today, somewhat ironically, I am in the "business of play". Through REC Retreats, I provide opportunities for adults to simply ... play. In my REC Retreat role, I am able to blend my pathologically precise planning with my penchant for productivity as well as practice my own playing - perfect!
Seeking more playful ideas ...
Some of the play that I love most isn't free. In fact, it can be prohibitively pricey. For some of my favorite play activities, I need "toys": a boat, a motorcycle, scuba gear, a snowboard (and lift tickets). There is plenty of free fun to be had, however, and I am always looking for fresh ideas of how to play inexpensively. If you have some creative thoughts, please share them with me using the "Contact Us" link on this website. With enough suggestions, I may put together an article ("Play for a Penny") and share it here. Now, go out and HAVE FUN!