We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Happier people make time for playing in their lives. Children are natural players. Unfortunately, as we age we forget how to play and most of us rarely prioritize it.
Why bother with what seems like a frivolous activity?
In the book Creating Your Best Life, Caroline Adams Miller and Dr. Michael B. Frisch describe the benefits like this:
Playing games and being spontaneous make us smile. Play goals also often involve learning new habits, making friends, getting fit, laughing, and exploring the world. Psychologists note that humor is one of the most powerful antidotes to discouragement and pessimism. Play also often puts us in a state of “flow” – where time stands still and we are completely engaged in the challenges in front of us – and it helps us restore our equilibrium and simply unwind or recharge our batteries when we need it most.
Play goals? When I first read this – and even now – those two words stood out for me. Who sets goals to play?
As I think about how I could bring more play into my own life, a few ideas have come to mind. I’ll share them in hopes of getting your own creative ideas flowing.
I miss playing a musical instrument. When I was a kid, I bounced from lesson to lesson, learning to play everything from the piano to the bassoon to the bass guitar. I could set a goal around relearning to play – or I could pick up a new instrument again.
My teenager plays all the time – but mostly on his XBox. I’m sure there are ways that we could play together as a family if we put our minds to it. He’s always asking to play Monopoly! Maybe it’s time to establish a family game night.
Setting play goals. Sounds odd, but perhaps it’s something we should all do so we don’t lose the playful spirit of our youth.