Making Play A Priority
By Karen Ballum on November 28, 2012
I know I've said this but my favorite parts of Kate and David Marshall's My Life Map: A Journal to Help Shape Your Future really were the subject maps. I liked the service map because it made me examine the role charity plays in my life. I liked the learning map because I'm a big nerd. The map that I was the happiest to see included had to be the map about play.
"What will you be doing -- outside of work -- that makes you happy? What hobbies and activities will entertain, nourish, excite and relax you? Will these activities be a main source of your happiness or will other parts of your life be more important?" Page 48.
I've often felt that play is underrated as a priority for adults, especially when we are new adults. Adults should be serious. We should focusing on our careers. We should be focusing on our family. We should be doing both. There is no time for play! Except there is and there should be.
I remember in my first job after college I went through a very intense period of overtime. I worked really long days and was thankful for working in a place with a relaxed dress code because I certainly had no time to do laundry let alone anything fun. I worked and I slept. I occasionally walked the whole way home, which took about an hour, simply because it meant I wasn't working or sleeping. When that period was over and I found myself working a normal 9-5 day, I was suddenly faced with hours of free time. What did grown ups do with their evenings?
I didn't have much money (hello student loans!) so travelling, going out to a lot of movies or really anything that wasn't dirt cheap was out. I ended up teaching myself how to knit using a combination of Knitting for Dummies and the internet. Luckily I was slow learner and I'm still a relatively slow knitter so knitting anything at all takes me hours and hours. Even if I spring for a more expensive skein of sock yarn, I know that it will take me many, many hours to create a pair of sock.
My playtime today hasn't changed a whole lot in essentials nor do I really expect it to. I still read a lot. I still knit very slowly. I am lucky enough to live near a fabulous walking path. The biggest differences between then and now is that I share my life with someone and I own a house. I putter around the house and get grand ideas, including some that we actually can do. Sure, scraping my ceiling is hard work but it's also pretty fun. I get to listen to loud music, do something physical and I have a really good excuse for ordering in take out. My husband deserve time to make play a priority in his life as well. I also think it's important that we do fun things together. We play a heck of a lot of board games.
I've worked a number of jobs since that first one out of college and the more I work the more I believe strongly in not only the value of play but the necessity of it. I need my downtime. I need to do something I enjoy for no other reason except that fact that it brings me joy to do so.
How do you play?
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