Rules to winning the game
One of my favorite things about being a mama is getting to revisit childhood feelings and experiences. This is the first week of summer vacation for my daughter, Sabina, and I’ve been reminiscing about how I felt as school wrapped up and long days of play ensued. As a kid I couldn’t wait for summer. School was fine, I guess, but summer was what I lived for. I remember the last day of school the minutes between 2:55 and 3:00 felt like an eternity, waiting for release into months of freedom.
Summer meant months of playing. And thanks to having parents that understood the huge value in unstructured play, I was mostly outside, with friends, learning how to be. I developed curiosity, imagination, and creativity by being left to entertain myself without a clear goal.
And though I experienced this time as just unequivocal fun, it was crucial for learning problem solving and social skills. In fact, studies show that the lack of play for children (and adults) is “serious stuff” and can impede social development, lead to higher levels of stress, and result in lack of persistence and work ethic.
It’s never too late to start to play.
Given that play is proven to be so crucial in our happiness and our success in relationships and career, I suggest we all embrace our full potential to allow our imaginations and creativity to run free this summer.
What if, as adults, we really celebrated summer vacation?
What if the rule to win this game of life was just to play? – Tweet it
This likely won’t mean quitting your job and frolicking in the river every day (though maybe it will,) but instead seeing how much space you can create for pure enjoyment or for delighting in what’s already on your calendar.
Here are some of my top ways to play:
- Make no plans for the weekend (this is where the unstructured part comes in) with the pure intention to have fun. Let everything be spontaneous. Join friends for a bike ride, build a gigantic fairy fort in the backyard with your kids, take a trip to a nearby town and explore, climb a tree.As adults we tend to want to plan our fun so we know exactly what we’re doing. Dinner plans, well organized vacations, and scheduled softball games are all great – but spontaneity lends a spice to our life that gives it a flavor of freedom.
- Weekday afternoon play in the park. Bring a blanket, a snack, a Frisbee, a bottle of wine and a friend to your neighborhood park and let go.Yes, this may mean leaving work early or skipping your regular workout – it’s okay, I promise.
- Dive into an art project with no end result in mind.Ninety percent of the time when I ask people what they would do if they worked less and had more free time, they reply “play my guitar more,” or “paint,” or “plant a garden,” or something else related to creating art. I believe that most of us have a soul level need to express ourselves through art, and ignoring it hinders our joy.Take the time to nourish your creativity and lose yourself in your art for an evening (or two or three. . .)
- Get out into nature and play full out. Get to the beach, a creek, into the mountains, out in a field – wherever is accessible to you – and stretch yourself to see how you can entertain yourself. How curious can you be about what’s around you? How far can you throw a pebble? Can you balance on that log?Tap into your inner child and you’ll find that there is endless fun to be had. Don’t worry about looking/being silly. Silliness is fully encouraged.
Will you play with me?
I’m ready to rock this summer vacation like I’m nine again. What about you?
If you want to take your play to the next level I hope you’ll join me for my Get It, Create Anything You Want Course, where every week there is a fun and compelling adventure!
The course doesn’t start until June 23rd, but in the meantime check out my recent video What it Really Takes to Get What You Want. In it I share the number one thing you need to create the life you want.
See you on the playground,