I’m not the most fun person ever. I don’t think I’m a total bore or anything, but I am pretty terrible at relaxing. I’m a creative, procrastinating perfectionist who fills my time with little things and then freaks out at the last minute about the big things. So play isn’t something I’ve ever had time for. In my mind it was a waste of time unless I was asked by someone else to do it. Then I was killing two birds with one stone: socialization and some fun.
My friend Heather introduced me to a book that has been pretty eye-opening. If how I described myself is resonating with you in the least, you need to get your hands on this book. It’s called Essentialism, and it’s been filled with “aha” moments. Basically the premise is that your life consists of many trivial things and very few vital things. We all have the choice to choose what we do, and if we don’t step up and make those choices hello people pleasers someone else will make them for us.
I knew that things like sleep and focus were essential to a good life but play? I never really thought about how important it was. Our society is one that prefers efficiency over leisure and structure over exploration, but play: anything we do simply for the joy of doing rather than as a means to an end, is powerful. It opens our minds to new ideas, relieves stress, and has a positive effect on the executive function of the brain. So play actually helps us be better workers and thinkers. Did you know most of the great thinkers, musicians and scientists made some of their biggest discoveries while at play? – not stuffed in front of some computer with a deadline looming.
So I’m making a pact to play more. This past week I left the house and computer behind and Milly and I spent a day at The Nelson. We had lunch on the lawn, took in the immense amount of art and she even snapped some pictures herself. Well, that was a bit of bribery to keep her quiet.
A chance to get away and be surrounded by inspiration was much needed, and I found myself refreshed and energized to tackle more at home the rest of the week. The things I let slip that day weren’t essentials. They could wait or never be done at all. But I had to make the choice to decide what was important for me to do that day instead of being a slave to emails and housework.
My goal is to schedule something playful every week. I’m marking it on my calendar to make it official, and I’m promising to feel no guilt about it. How about you? Do you make it a priority to play?