Last year on my 48th birthday, I went for a run, came home, said F-it and published my first novel. It had been sitting in a drawer, ready to go, but I hadn’t published it for a myriad of lame reasons.
This year, I had another bout of the F-its, but I got this bout on the eve before my 49th birthday. I’d been feeling…dull, like life was drudgery.
I hadn’t been writing or quilting or creating, and I just wasn’t having a whole lot of fun.
How I spend every single day is how I spend my life. So, why was I creating a life that only had fun on designated “fun” times, like the weekends or vacation?
That is dumb.
I wanted to have fun, to en-joy life, every single day. So, I decided to challenge myself to actually DO that.
I launched my 40 Days of Play Challenge/Experiment/Experience. Fifteen days in, and I haven’t totally decided if it’s a challenge/experiment or Experience. I do know, it’s fun!
I also invited people to join me. It’s been so much fun. It was great to come up with an idea and act on it, without overthinking, without debating.
Why 40 Days?
I picked 40 days for play because 40 seems to have both a mystical and practical meaning in quite a few cultural and spiritual traditions.
It’s actually kind of fascinating. I Googled “40 days spiritual significance…” followed by a variety of religions and spiritual traditions and the number 40 is significant in many of them.
If Jesus can hang out in the desert and fast while being tempted by the devil for 40 days, if Jews can wander in the desert for 40 years, if Odysseus can withstand 40 days of trials from the Gods, if Kundalini yogi’s practice new kriyas for 40 days, I can definitely play for 40 days.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I define “play” because some of my play hasn’t been what I’d think of as play. Play is sitting outside and having a cup of coffee. It’s a spontaneous date with my hubs. It’s getting totally lost in a book or a writing project.
Playing happens when time totally goes away because I’m in the moment. I love that feeling.
I actually started a popup Facebook group for the experience, and it’s interesting how we’ve all noticed the joy that already exists in our lives. It’s not so much about how to have fun as it as about noticing and taking advantage of the opportunities for play and laughter that are already there.
We find them when we pay attention and take advantage of them.
One woman had an evening alone without her husband or kiddos and instead of doing laundry, she took herself out to a lovely dinner. Others have had impromptu visits with friends, baked for the first time with their kiddos, worked/played in their garden, and had dance parties.
When we look for the joy and fun, we’re all finding that’s what we see.
When we pay attention to the drudgery, that’s what we see.
I’d rather see the JOY.