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I'm an adult. What exactly does fun and play look like now?

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

This morning I got to take a 2-year-old on a walk. It was early morning, and all of the puddles from the day before were frozen solid. My little friend gleefully ran from puddle to puddle stomping on them and breaking the ice.

“Look! Look, Elizabeth! You stomp too,” he said. So run, jump, stomp, crunch, run, jump,

stomp, crunch we went. We even discovered a whole ditch of never-ending ice puddles. Two-year-olds do not care about my agenda, what we will have for dinner, or what needs to be done tomorrow. He was FULLY present in each crunchy puddle of ice. For 30 minutes, he gave that gift to me.

It struck me that this was the playful energy that I’ve been journaling and thinking about. In my Co-Active Coach Training courses, I’ve been challenged to reflect on what I need more of in my life. As a recovering perfectionist and workaholic, I can easily spend my free time thinking about my to-do list. I can forget about enjoying the present moment or making room for rest and play. What do I want more of? Moments of being fully present in play.

According to Dr. Stuart Brown, play has 7 seven properties. The most important one for me is that play does not have to have a purpose, it is done simply because we want to and it’s fun. Dr. Brown is quoted in The Gifts of Imperfection (Brené Brown), as saying,

“The opposite of play is not work - the opposite of play is depression…true play that comes from our own inner needs and desires is the only path to finding lasting joy and satisfaction in our work. In the long run, work does not work without play.”

Over the past month, I’ve tried adding in playfulness in a variety of ways.

Going on walks in a new corner of town and focusing on breathing deeply, letting go of my list, and finding the pockets of beauty around me.

I’ve gone bowling with a friend and her kids (who are way better at being present than I am). I’ve tried new restaurants and new ski trails. I’ve busted out the watercolors and colored pencils and made some fun birthday cards. I’ve played board games with friends. I’ve danced and sung along to Taylor Swift while cooking. I’m even planning to take my way too serious 33-year-old self out dancing soon.

So the question is- what’s your puddle? What people or activities make you laugh and smile?

Thinking back to last week’s post, who do you want to become? What small daily actions or tweaks to this coming week’s plan can add moments of joy and laughter?

Want to learn more about the importance of play? Check out the links below:

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