Play is unstructured fun where there are few or no expectations on the outcome. When we are young, playing comes natural. Kids naturally play alone or with other kids. They don’t worry about what needs to be done next or when the recess bell will ring. They simply play. They have fun with what they are doing. As adults, however, we have more difficulty playing. Why don’t we play more? Many adults I know worry about what needs to be done next, thinking they have no time. Why do we worry about the next thing or how much time we have? Knowing our time is limited we focus on what is required of us. Why is our time limited as adults? As we age, we make decisions which lead to incremental increases in responsibility and requirements for our time. We also don’t allot enough time to enjoy the things we have to do. We give ourselves just enough time without tolerance for changes or interactions with others and our environment. Why do we try to squeeze in as much as possible to the time we do have? We decide to use the time we have in the way we do. Why can’t we decide to use our time differently? Here is a root cause we can do something about. We can make different decisions.
There are other things that hold us back including our awareness that others may be watching, worry about how we will be perceived and our inhibitions in general. These are a little less tangible and things we have to work on personally. However, they come down to the same thing, our decision to let go, have fun and play. Obviously, we must be mindful of our responsibilities, but we have the opportunity every moment to change our mind set and attitude to find the fun. At work we can find those things we enjoy. We can use some of the energy we normally use to hold back or restrain our selves to play a little bit within the constraints of the moment. We can unlearn our restraints as appropriate for the various situations we may find ourselves in. If we let go bit by bit, perhaps we can recapture some of the spirit of play that we once had as kids.
Within our structured lives, it’s up to us to find the fun and develop our sense of play flowing from our centers.