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It's Time to Play

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American psychologist Charles E. Schaefer once said, “We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are at play.”

In our hectic, fast-paced lives, many of us focus so heavily on work and family commitments that we never take the time for pure and simple pleasure. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we stopped playing. When we do schedule downtime, we’re more likely to zone out in front of our TVs and computers than actually engage in fun, rejuvenating play like we did as kids.

We all know that play is essential for a child’s health and wellbeing, but it’s also an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults. Play fuels our imagination, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, relieving stress while improving our relationships and connection to others.

Play keeps us feeling young and energetic. Evidence of this may lie in the words of playwright George Bernard Shaw, who said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play then might just be that fountain of youth we are all looking for!

Having grandchildren has filled my life with much laughter and playful adventure. I don’t merely observe their play; I’m expected to jump right into whatever real or imaginary activity is taking place. I’ve also resurrected my childhood love of swimming, bike-riding, and treasure-hunting along the beach, revelling in these moments just as children do.

I have learned to let go and go with the flow, leaving my to-do list behind. Although our vocations are important, my success doesn’t depend on the amount of time I work but upon the quality of that work, which I find is greatly enhanced after a refreshing time at play.

When defining the word play, the Oxford Dictionary uses phrases like “wield lightly and freely” and “keep in motion.” Well, we could all use a little more lightness and freedom, and keeping our bodies moving is an added bonus.

The summer months provide the perfect opportunity to experience, once again, the light-hearted pleasure and exhilarating feeling of abandon that happens when we get lost in play. I’ll see you out there!


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