I recently got back from an amazing vacation, visiting a wonderful, playful, up-for-anything friend and seeing my most favorite band in the world (Dave Matthews Band ♥love them!♥).
I went completely on my own–no kids, no husband–and it was beautiful. For five days I got to play, play, play and do exactly what I wanted to do. As a mom of young children, I can assure you, this never happens.
It was a trip filled with so many new experiences for me. When I got home, I admit I was a little sad to be returning to my normal, predictable, responsible life. I truly love my life, and I love my family, but it was such a refreshing break to be just Jaime for a short time–in as pure and powerful and unadulterated a form as possible.
I think everybody needs this kind of reconnection to self every once in awhile. There are lots of ways to get there, but the way I do it–the way I get back to my essence and remember who I am, really–is through play.
And, the more I think about it, the more I realize a large part of my need for play as an adult is to fill a craving for new experiences. When we’re kids, everything is new; everything is an adventure. Sometimes as adults, if we’re not careful, life starts to get a little too routine. We lose that wondrous, innocent feeling of experiencing everything through fresh eyes. But we don’t have to…
The experience of my transformative trip inspired me to make a list of all the ways I loved to play as a kid… and the ways I love to play today, as an adult:
The ways I played as a kid:
- Go exploring in nature (my family had a dairy farm; I’d spend all day roaming around the pastures and woods, naming and mapping out landmarks and having adventures)
- Ride my bike
- Play with my animals (at various times: cats, dogs, a goat, ducks, chickens, a calf, box turtles and tadpoles I’d caught, etc.)
- Play dress-up
- Make up stories
- Dance and sing, listen to music
- Make movies, take photos, write stories, pretend to be a reporter
- Bake (actual edible) cakes and cupcakes… and also mimosa-leaf soup and roly poly mud-cakes
- Climb trees
- Build forts (in the cedar tree in my mom’s yard, between the hay bales at the farm, in that old oak with the nails in the bark…)
- Play in the rain/mud/creek
The ways I play as an adult:
- Go exploring in nature; explore my neighborhood
- Ride my bike/run
- Play with my kids (it’s a good excuse to slip in the occasional game of hide-and-seek or tag)
- Play dress-up (although now, unlike when I was a kid, I usually have somewhere to go after I get all dressed!)
- Pretend/make up stories/daydream (aka “I’m a writer”)
- Dance and sing, listen to music (at home, at concerts, in my head, all the time)
- Write/blog/think about interesting ideas
- Take photos
- Cook, enjoy, try new foods
- Good conversation and laughter with friends
- Climb trees, play in the rain/mud (yeah, sometimes!)
So… what about you? How did you play as a kid? How do you play now? See any similarities? Feeling the urge to dive back into some forgotten passions? Listen to this and think about it a bit, then I wanna hear all about it!
“Scream and shout it loud, oh innocence! In the days when all we did would never end. …Bring that beat back to me again…”
© Jaime Greenberg, 2011
Originally posted on discovered in play blog, July 2011
Doing some reading today, and this just really seemed to fit: “There is really no more beautiful way of putting one’s own life force to the test than by recognizing and seizing joy itself, without exaggeration but purely with the strength of joy, and to grasp with its proper measure the perfection and loveliness of a few days without even the least sense of a ‘too much.’ A child, after all, does nothing but that, and we are always closest to the center of our lives at the point where according to our own means we most closely resemble the child!” –Rainer Maria Rilke