Having fun and being playful are integral parts of being fully human. We often associate the joys of playfulness and unabandon to childlike behaviors because as children we don't have the same responsibilities we have as adults. Playing is how young people interact with the world to learn about things, make friendships, and stay connected to themselves. As we get older, we're encouraged to give up those "childish" ways, and our lives can start to feel heavier as we take on roles and responsibilities that come with added stress. Of course, we need to be responsible for ourselves as adults, but maybe that could be joyful too. Many people who have children of their own are reminded of the delight and pure joy that young ones emit, and it can have a profound affect on parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone that's gets to be around it. But what if we didn't have to rely on children to remind us?
Reclaiming our sense of fun and enjoying our lives can play (pun intended) a critical role in our overall sense of well-being. Whether we feel like it or not, we have each created the lives we have. We've made decisions and gone in directions that we thought would provide outcomes that we wanted or needed to survive. There is something beyond just surviving...there is thriving, creating, fully being. We can create the lives we truly want, and we can start with joy. What excites us? What gets us eager to arise each day and take on new challenges?
Silliness, goofiness, "craziness" are modes of being we often leave behind because it's not cool anymore, and we need to be "serious". (I mean, seriously!) Laughter, lightness and flexibility are actually much needed, often even when we are doing serious things. Creating our lives, making new beginnings, even figuring out difficult situations can be fun and playful and joyful with a fresh perspective. Sometimes creating something new can feel heavy and have its pushback, but ultimately we may need that to discover something about ourselves, clear something out, and move forward. And once we are free from the difficulty, we are able to experience true joy in our lives.
What is one thing you like to do to have fun? What is one thing that makes you so excited, pulls at you directly from your heart, and makes you want to literally jump for joy? Take some time this week to have some fun, notice joyful moments, even if they're brief, to reconnect with that childlike spirit within you and see if you can shift your perspective, even a little.
Photo credit: Noah Silliman