What is play time to you?
I would call play time a combination of these three points.
- A time you don’t want to end.
- A time where you don’t notice time.
- A time where you are fully present.
These could all be considered a different side of the same coin but each has its own specific characteristics.
A time you don’t want to end
When you’re spending time playing, you want it to last forever. What activities do you partake in that you wish could last forever? You get that feeling as though you would never get bored. You’re playing ping pong and you wouldn’t mind if the competition was first to 1,000,000.
A time where you don’t notice time
This one is hard to explain. Time flies when you’re having fun but spending time playing also feels as if it lasts forever. You’ll be conversing with a friend and all of a sudden four hours have passed by. You recall something you said at the beginning of the conversation and that feels as if it was an eternity ago.
A time where you are fully present
When you’re in play time, that’s all you experience. When you’re fully immersed in play, nothing else matters. There’s no anxiety over the report that’s due in a few days. There’s no angst over how you sounded when you called your crush the night before. Play time is present time. You may think, Yeah well, I play a lot but I still think about these things. I would argue that if this is you, then you’re not truly experiencing play. With that being said, I don’t have an answer as to how you can either. Experiencing play is totally up to you.
These days being busy is worn as a badge of honour. When someone asks how you’ve been an easy reply is to just say “busy.” How often do you hear someone say,
I’ve been investing time into playing more and doing a whole lot of nothing.
Not often but when you do, you immediately jump to the conclusion somewhere in the realm of “Well this person must be lazy.” Or, “I wish I could spend more time playing.”
Brene Brown mentions in her book The Power of Vulnerability, that so often people will say,
I’ll have time to play when I’m done.
Define done. When will that ever be? How often does the last item of the to-do list get ticked off before another item is added?
I want to start playing more. This morning I wrote a list of 10 activities that induce play time for me. I encourage you to do the same. It doesn’t have to be 10 but that’s a good number to start.
Recently I’ve been making decisions based off what I call the 20 year rule. If my mind is at a clash between two different options, I apply this rule. The rule consists of seeing yourself 20 years in the future. What would your future self think of your past decision? For example, I could never see my future self regretting spending more time playing. If you go further into the future, I doubt anyone has ever been on their death bed wishing that they had worked more and spent less time playing.
Think about how you can spend more time playing. Use the 20 year rule if you want. Use the death bed analogy. Find activities you know you can actively induce play time for you. Life is already short, why not slow it down a little with play.
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