Focusing on playing and having more fun for the past 40 days has been eye-opening. I’ve had fun and also made some discoveries about how to play, who I am when I play, and that I’m a much happier person (who I like a lot more) when I play.
#1 – Fun is there all the time if you’re open to it.
And by being “open to it” I mean mostly saying YES to it. I realized that I often had opportunities for fun or had ideas to take a quick break from work with something fun, but I wouldn’t because I felt obligated to whatever it was I was doing. So, these 40 days were also a big lesson is saying YES to what lights me up. Even if it might not feel “convenient” at first. The small play breaks I took were such a mood-changer for me.
#2 – I get to define play for me.
What sounds like fun to someone else, might sound like your own personal idea of hell. Similarly, someone else might shake their head in total disbelief and what I find fun, and that’s okay. We get to decide for ourselves what we lose ourselves in.
#3 – For me, trying new things totally counts as play.
I love learning and have embraced the fact that I’m a lifelong learner who likes to try new stuff.
Whether it was reading a non-fiction book, researching and learning how to make kombucha (it’s still in process and haven’t drunk any yet but it’s been a fun science experiment), or trying a new exercise class (#pound anyone?!), I found myself totally engrossed and enjoying myself.
#4 – When I play and have fun, I’m more creative.
All kinds of ideas for novels, for my business, for playing came in total rushes. I loved that and it was pretty unexpected. I haven’t yet started my next novel because I wasn’t feeling inspired. I am now!! I also have a non-fiction book brewing and composting in my brain which is a total surprise.
#5 – I’m also surprisingly more productive.
The day that I started this challenge, I woke to 3-4 emails all about being productive and filled with productivity hacks. It was exhausting to even think about reading them, so I hit delete and started to play.
Magic happened and I discovered that when I’m happy and having fun, I get more done though that was totally NOT the goal of this experience.
#6 – Getting past the “should’s” and the guilt when I played is still a work in progress.
I talked about this a bit in my last blog post, but I could seriously write probably four more on this topic alone.
#7 – Some days, I had to make an effort to play!
Many days, when I opened my eyes and looked for it, play and fun were there. But there were some days, when I totally overbooked myself, that it got to be the evening and I realized, I hadn’t done one thing solely for the enjoyment of it. Sure, I did things that I enjoyed, like ate a yummy breakfast or met with a lovely client, but I didn’t necessarily count those things as play. They were pieces of work and life that I enjoyed. Play is MUCH more than that – it’s fun, it’s totally losing myself in a moment, connecting with myself or with friends on a deeper level.
I realized how much I’ve filled my life with not play which is NOT how I want to live the next years of my life.
#8 – Something in my psyche automatically equates sunshine with play.
I love getting outside to run, walk, ride my bike, and even weed the garden.
#9 – We live in a society that has designated “fun/play” times ie. Friday night, the weekend, and vacation.
I don’t like this at all, and I’d never realized that it was even a thing before. I knew that people tend to hate Mondays because it’s the end of play time and the start of the work week, but WHY must it be this way?!? Why can’t we go to work and take a walk at lunch with a friend and have an amazing conversation and have the most amazing Monday full of JOY?!?
It’s like we’re not supposed to, which I officially reject. I’m embracing Mondays as a play day as much as any other day.
#10 – It’s totally possible to play at work.
I took my work outside. I took mini-dance breaks. I focused on those elements of my job that I love and have spent quite a bit of time these past 40 days brainstorming how I can do more of what I love and what I’m good at rather than the drudgery.
This experience is a beginning for me. I’m 40 days into my 49th year, and having fun, playing, en-JOY-ing my life is a priority.
Playfulness hasn’t been at the top of my “to do” list for a long time as I’ve focused on raising my kiddos, writing books, teaching, starting a business.
I’ve relegated play to the weekends and to vacations. I don’t particularly like the Amy who never plays and sometimes doesn’t even know how to play.
If you’ve taken the challenge, what have you learned? I’d love for you to leave a comment.