Somewhere around 10, we can probably all agree we graduate from using the word play in the traditional childlike sense. We tell that light-hearted word to stay swaying on the swings and climbing up the tree houses of our youngest age bracket.
We cement the one-dimensional definition in and tend not to use it unless it's a verb for sports, a live production we buy tickets to see for or something we tell kids to do in the backyard.
Since Adult Land is all about commuting and calendars and co-workers, we need a reason for doing things. A means to an end, a next rung, a monetary reward.
Considering play wants to loan firecrackers to our imaginations and unleash our right to goof off, you can see the conflict.
But play what makes us pause in all the adult hullabaloo to get our blood going again.
The other week, one of my best mates and I blew the dust off of Cliff Nobles, hit the gas and ended up at the beach two hours north. We halted on route to go poke around abandoned farmhouses, take photos by old motel signs, climb into an unsupervised ferris wheel and feast on BBQ in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it town. When we got to the deserted beach, we ran for the swing set. If you're anything like me, you asked yourself, "When's the last time I jumped off a swing?"
So I did.
"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." - Khalil GibranTweet It!
It wasn't scheduled into a day planner and I definitely didn't make any cash doing it.
Yet, the spontaneous play through the whole day pulled the rug out from under all my regularly scheduled programming and took a defibrillator to my office-weary heart.
I needed it.
I needed it because play has a necessary place in balancing out responsibility and deadlines. Play pulls me back from the cliff of taking everything too seriously and gives my steaming brain permission to take a breather.
When I tally what play gives me - a broader perspective, a well-deserved break, the incredible company of my friends in brand-spankin' new places, a plate full of inspiration to pour back into my work - it's pretty ludicrous that I can be so convinced it's the territory of children.
We all need it.
So the next time you're yawning into a half-cup of coffee in the midst of too many open tabs, you know what to do: go play.
Dani Kreeft is the one woman force behind paper goods brand Dani Press, currently based in Toronto, Canada. If she isn't scrambling to ship greeting cards and art prints across North America, she's probably wandering around with her camera foraging for a coffee.
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