Find Your Playground
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
— George Bernard Shaw
I first heard this quote while watching the 2007 movie, “The Bucket List” starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. After the movie was over, I kept repeating this quote in my head over and over again, trying to really absorb and comprehend its meaning, and how it pertained to me. It really made me stop and think.
It made me wonder, how do I play now, as an adult? I remember growing up and my parents telling me to "go out and play!" Do you remember that? And, when your parents did, what did you end up doing? I remember so many things I loved to do, including playing kickball and hide and seek with friends, dancing, setting up obstacle courses, playing charades...the list could go on and on.
After most of us finish schooling and begin our careers, things tend to get “more serious,” and we start to lose sight of that playfulness we once had. We may still be active and either go workout at the gym, or find other ways to exercise, but are we really playing? Truly, playing? Are we fully in the moment? Are we doing these activities because we think have to in order to stay in shape, or because we really want to do them?
There are so many benefits to adult play, such as relieving stress, improving brain function, creating personal connections with others, sparking creativity, and more. You can add play into your life in a variety of ways. You can play with a child, another family member or friend, or a pet. You can play a game, dance to your favorite music, or try something new that you’ve wanted to, but have been afraid to explore.
Have you ever watched a child playing? They are so in the moment. Laughing, moving freely, enjoying their surroundings, and just being. They become completely engulfed in whatever they do. They aren’t thinking about how they look to others. They have no idea what time it is...they are just having fun!
Last week during a bootcamp session I teach I found myself lost in play. I don’t often join my group in the workouts, but I did this time because there were only a few participants. It was a gorgeous day in the park, the sun was shining, birds chirping, and you could hear the children on the playground behind us. The workout was fun and challenging, and we got to a point toward the end where we were running all around the field. It was at that point in time that this quote popped back into my head. I began to smile because I realized I was indeed playing! Truly playing! I was in the moment, enjoying my surroundings, laughing, and I didn’t care about how I looked to anyone passing by—I felt completely free and alive, and it was fantastic!
So, my question, and challenge, to you is…
When was the last time you played? What did you do and how did it make you feel?
I then challenge you to find ways to play more. Help yourself stay young and find YOUR playground! It will feed you body, mind, and soul...I promise.