“O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.”
― Leo Rosten
Summertime is a bright and happy season. Like childhood it is full of promise and possibility. Waking up on a weekend morning in summer, a gentle morning breeze tickles my toes and the early morning rays of that pale gold sun sneaks between the slats on the blinds. The birds sing a slow and hopeful song in the maple tree right outside my window. It is a glorious day! It is the perfect day for some well deserved play!
Yes, a big helping of play today with a side of fun. This is a childhood activity that is sorely lacking in the lives of children, and adults. We all need play. We all need fun. It is a very real need that doesn’t disappear with age. In fact, playing and the subsequent fun that follows, helps keep us young.
Webster’s Dictionary online has much to say about play. Just the concept evokes many ideas and images. I found a wealth of activities that qualified as play, including but not limited to; swordplay, wordplay, sports play and sexual play too. The Concise Enclopedia, truly living up to its name, describes play as; actions have all the elements of purposeful behavior but are performed for no apparent reason.
While I respect the writers and editors at the Concise Enclopedia, I must disagree with this very concise definition….I say play has a reason and the reason is very apparent and if it isn’t, it soon will be…
“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.”
The Importance of PLAY
- Play is a source of relaxation and stimulation for the brain and body. It is important to our physical and mental health. Just as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. Play helps us relieve stress. It enables us to manage the day-to-day realities of life. It helps channel “negative” experiences and emotions into positive ones. Play is vital to good mental health.
- Play encourages creativity by stimulating the imagination. It supercharges learning and is essential in developing problem solving abilities.
- This act of play triggers a mix of endorphins that enlivens the mood and lifts the spirit.
- Play connects us to others. Sharing happiness and laughter promotes bonding between people.
- Play brings joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships. Play can also heal hurt feelings, resentments and disagreements,
- Playing together promotes a sense of safety and trust, trust enables people to work together and is essential to unity.
How do I play especially in public without looking like a complete idiot? My advice is to embrace looking like an idiot. At some point I’ve learned is that you have to stop caring what others think and just do it, whatever it is. If it isn’t harmful and destructive, why not? I’ve always liked to swing on the swings in the park. In my twenties I thought I was too old, now I know better. Life is too short for hang ups like that. We all have an inner child in us. Some of us are in daily communication with this other self, some need a bit of coaxing to bring this child out. I know from experience it is well worth the coaxing. Some of the most dour adults can transform into some of the most fun and best playmates if only given the chance.
I guess sometimes a little “unrealness” can help us cope with the very realness of life. And besides, play is fun and who doesn’t need more fun?
What do you do for fun? Do you still find time to play as an adult? Let me know. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Have a great day!
“A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who doesn’t play has lost forever the child who lived in him and who he will miss terribly.”
***References and Related Articles***
WE ARE YOUNG by FUN (YouTube)
Lifelong Games: Playing Together for Fun (helpguide.org)
Why Play Matters (helpguide.org)
Health Benefits of Having Fun (about.com)
Definition of PLAY (Merriam-Webster.com)
5 Ways to Bring Happy into Your Life (lifehack.org)
Adults need playtime too (bookofmohs.com)