As children, we learn numerous other essential life skills from play. We learn how to get along with others and how to practice self-control lest we lose our playmates due to a tantrum. And play makes us happy. So, is it surprising that happiness has been linked to success? I suppose you can be successful without being happy (Donald Trump) but are you enjoying the success?
A successful happy life is also linked with humor because laughter is a direct antidote to pessimism and discouragement. So to attempt to lead a successful life, it would seem we need to start shopping from the happiness aisle. And if that means playing more, so be it.
According to Dr. Alan Marlatt of the University of Washington, if we make the play activities ‘shoulds’ and not ‘wants’, “We run the risk of burn-out and turn to alcohol and other chemical substances to give us relief that we get from play”. Um, yes.
Play activities need to be “want” activities and not “should” activities. And I can say I have spent so very much time stuck in the “But I need to get this done and I should accomplish that before I let myself play” section of that other aisle. Such a habit of wanting to accomplish but not realizing I no longer valued fun and lived in a constant state of boredom, continual hard labor, and adultness. Until recently when I have discovered Creative Flow and am Connecting the Dots of creative self.
What kind of parent would I be if I did this to my children. Even as a farmer with multiple children, if I needed to till the garden and plow the fields and rethatch the roof, I would still need to cut those laborers some slack to get their yayas out. Because that’s what you do.
In my graduation to adulthood, I forgot what it was like to be a child. To play and learn and wonder and add to the world I am in. I became subsistence girl. Survival mode keeps you alive alright. But it is our destiny to do more than just survive. We have the gift to live and thrive and grow.
So I vow to give myself way more time to play. Whatever that means and however I can make that happen. Play is more important than I have ever given it credit. And so is happiness. Happiness is all it’s cracked up to be.