If you’re even close to finding a reasonable balance of work and play, consider yourself among an elite sub-group. Most of us are radically play deprived, while simultaneously sleep deprived. 85% work and 15% play depending on what you will allow to count as play. If you count video games, TV and movies — there goes your 15%.
Our play muscles have atrophied into dried up figs on the crackled vine. Some of us don’t even remember how to play. We can’t process the feeling when we do it.
If, by a cosmic miracle, a single day’s agenda were cleared, we wouldn’t even know where to begin. We’re kind of shell shocked in the corner having enough trouble dealing with daily details: Rain gutters. Filling out forms. Kid patrol. Moving the car for the street sweeper.
It can take awhile to pull yourself back towards play. First, you’ll have to give yourself permission. Sounds silly. This can be harder than it would seem. There are plenty of social and cultural forces telling you that play is a waste of time. That you aren’t allowed to play if you want to be productive. You might not even think that you need or deserve to play, but you really do.
Maybe it starts with stealing back a few minutes. Finding a few minutes might lead to half an hour. Half an hour might be the start of something more. Let it scale according to your comfort level. HOW you play is entirely at your command. Find something you used to enjoy, and do it again. The beginning can be that simple.
Maybe it’s watercolors or your bass guitar. I started with 30 minutes of frisbee golf at lunch. This led to an avalanche. I started re-arranging to eat lunch while playing, in order to play a little bit longer. Next, I figured out how to do this with other meals inventing what I call the Triple B (Basketball Breakfast Burrito). It will take sacrifice and questioning, but the results are well worth it. Watch what starts to happen when play informs work, rather than trying it the other way around.