Playing at Any Age

Growing up as young children, we are often given the opportunity to make play our primary occupation. We are allowed and encouraged to engage in play as a way to develop skills that we will use later in life. We are expected to play with an instilled belief that it is the purpose of childhood, filled with a sense of freedom, discovery and unlimited awe. Slowly as we grow, we are given more responsibilities, more homework, more expectations, and our ability to play freely becomes diminished, less incorporated into our lives.

As we grow up, we are led into a new paradigm where play becomes a reward for us, as though our ability to play is granted only once we have accomplished our other tasks. Playing and playtime becomes delegated to something less important or somehow less valuable. For some play never returns, instead obligations and goals take over their focus and lives. Play becomes something that is discarded or strictly associated with youth, otherwise ignored, only revised through memories.

Sadly, this transition from early childhood into young adulthood often teaches us that the idea of play is something extra or frivolous, that has little valve beyond blowing-off steam. Our time becomes directed by what is productive to achieve greater goals measured by an outside standard of being mature and responsible with a useful function to society. It underscores a value system that states rewards are measured by financial goals and productivity. This premise often robs us from the joyful beauty found in work that can hold an essence of playfulness.

Some individuals are luckily enough to keep the essence of play active within them as they leap over the different hurdles of becoming an exemplary citizen in the world. They found a way to play while learning to settle into a career or job, family and community to find a kind of wholeness many others are missing. Yet, this opportunity is not lost to everyone forever. It can be reclaimed.

Play is not a luxury or a childhood pastime we leave behind or grow out of, it is valuable tool. Having the ability to play ignites our passion, relieves stress, encourages bonding in relationships and helps us to discover new aspects of ourselves. While we engage in play we are expanding our minds and releasing positive endorphins that helps to boost confidence while ensuring healthy outcomes in our bodies and minds, equally lifting our spirits.

We can learn to include play into our schedule by creating the habit to honor time for playing. This is a small consideration that brings unmatched benefits. Many consider themselves too busy to play, having heavy workloads and schedules too tight to manage adding playtime into their lives. Yet, playing helps us to accomplish our work often with a lighter heart and with more enjoyment in our work.

Making time to play is important because it enhances our connection to creativity, opening us to our potential. Imagine being able to approach our tasks with the levity of playfulness feeling supported by the spirit of youthfulness. Cultivating a playful attitude helps to create a sense of inner happiness even while we feel challenged. There are boundaries, of course immaturity is not the same as being playful. The balance is found within the context of cultivating our inner child connection to the brilliance of play in the things we enjoy most.

Connecting to our inner child allows us to become more responsible not less, as we integrate an awareness that is tending to what is needed to become healthy and happy. We can incorporate play into our approach and still get serious work completed by honoring the ability to a little fun within our focused work. We can lift our spirits with breaks that help us to avoid becoming too weighted down or resistant, instead releasing us into our creativity as we go back to our tasks.

Keeping a playful attitude enhances our ability to deal with stress, giving us a different perspective. We become better companions to those we spend our time, when we are able to bring a lightness and playful spirit. We can lift each other through play. We can turn our day around from feeling burdened by engaging in our world with a child-like sense of awe, being inspired, or at least curious, helping us change how we look at things. The easiest way to create this perspective is by playing.

Playfulness is not limited to a certain age, just as playing is e