One of my favorite things to do is take a cruise on a shopping cart down the gradual slope from the store right to my car. There is something about it that is so fun and liberating. I do it every time I go shopping and it gives me such joy. In my 44-years of life, I have never witnessed another adult going for a shopping cart joy ride.
But, just the other day as I was gliding on my shopping basket roadster, I looked over at the parking lot isle to my right to see a grown man with a huge smile on his face speeding by on his carriage cruiser. We caught each other’s eye and started giggling.
In our hectic, modern lives, many of us focus so heavily on work and family commitments that we never seem to have time for pure fun. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we’ve stopped playing. When we carve out some leisure time, we’re more likely to zone out in front of the TV or computer than engage in fun, rejuvenating play like we did as children. But just because we’re adults, that doesn’t mean we have to take ourselves so seriously and make life all about work. We all need to play.
While play is crucial for a child’s development, it is also imperative for people of all ages to live a healthy life. Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.
If you are a parent or grandparent or work around children, opportunities for play may come a little easier. Adult play is a time to forget about work and commitments, and have fun in an unstructured, creative way. Focus your play on the actual experience, not on accomplishing any goal. The only point to the activity is having fun and enjoying yourself.
Play could be simply joking around with friends, playing a game with a coworker on your lunch break, throwing a Frisbee on the beach, making a craft with your kids, building a snowman in the yard, playing fetch with a dog or going for a bike ride with no destination in mind. By giving yourself permission to play with the joyful abandon of childhood, you can reap endless health benefits throughout your life.