Even if you feel you no longer got it, you probably had it as a child. Being playful is one of the ways to stop time, to fully be in the flow, to be immersed in what is going on right where you are. It requires concentration, lightly held to allow room for new things to emerge. What about this? What if I put this over there? Let’s see what that does. There is a lightness to it.
Playfulness does not have a goal, except itself. In our overscheduled lives, this makes it a radical act. It also makes it a necessary one, for playfulness is what gives birth to innovation and new ideas. It is also the perfect antidote to adulthood turned calcification. Ever watched how a grandma’s face changes when playing with her granddaughter? Life itself flowing right back. Kids often allow parents to have a second round at this. Nieces, friend’s kids also work to tickle that side in you. Or the puppy from the shelter. The art workshop.
But its been so long. But I have forgotten. But I don’t have the time. What will my boss think? Oh you adults. It really doesn’t take much to get back into that mood… using what is there and creatively exploring its for maximum enjoyment. Play with the water a bit when you do your dishes, you got that fancy shower head faucet for a reason (nobody is watching). Use your hands to make the burger patties (it’s OK to play with your food). Hop along the sidewalk stones making a pattern (ignore them, they are just jealous they don’t have the guts). Find words that rhyme and switch up your favorite song lyrics as you go for your run (park animals love early morning songs). Wear that tie or scarf that you never quite thought you could pull off. Hang up that wonky drawing from your niece, right next to your fancy credentials in your office. Try out a different thing when opening your next team meeting. And if you feel you can’t quite pull it off yet, invite your team to make a start and let them know you are genuine. And for the sake of your younger self, play along. Let life back in. It will be good for you.