“We don’t stop playing because we grow old;
We grow old because we stop playing.” — George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish playwright and essayist
A friend of mine is a corporate attorney who is married with 3 kids. About two years ago he recognized that his work was putting a tremendous amount of stress on his family and marriage. He (and his wife) didn’t like who he was becoming. And they set out to make some changes. “Aside from carving out daily time to spend together, one of the greatest things we did was create Play Day,” he told me. “Once a month, one of my kids picks out a family activity that we all do together for a day. The only rule is that it’s got to be something they find fun! We love it because it not only allows my wife and I to see the world from our kids’ eyes, but also it allows us to reconnect with our own playfulness.”
The quickest way to grow old is to take yourself too seriously. When you do, the playfulness gets sucked out of everything around you. Your job. Your hobbies. Your time with family & friends. As you grow older, it’s easy to fall victim to the illusion that playtime is over. It’s not. Do some experimenting. Be more playful at meetings. At home with your family. When you meet a stranger on the street. And even when things aren’t going your way. That’s often when it’s most important.
1. Do some brainstorming with family and colleagues about how you can introduce more fun into your daily routine.
2. Create some structures to make sure it happens (after hearing this story one of my clients is trying a Play Day for his company).
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously – it’ll burn you out quickly.