The play advice you might have received
You may have heard invitations to “connect with how you liked to play as a child” or “think about what brought you the most joy as a child.” The idea is that you can then translate these passions into your current adult life.
While invitations to dive into the past to reconnect with your play self are beautiful, they are not always accessible.
I say this because not everyone has play histories as a child that are immediately accessible or pertinent. What if as a child you felt there wasn’t space for you to play in the way that you wanted? What if you felt social pressure even at a very young age? What if your childhood passions don’t bring you joy anymore?
There is a romantic idea of continuity in this line of questioning. It makes a perfect story to reconnect with what you always loved to do as a child.
For those of us that want to explore other avenues, here are a few invitations:
- What are you even slightly interested in or curious about today? This removes the need to look for a capital P passion.
- Who are you jealous of ? What are the underlying interests and values of that jealousy and how might they translate into play? For instance, if you envy people with lots of money, perhaps a form of play for you might be to save up to spend a day living lavishly.
- What or who makes you laugh ? Why? Noticing your own body’s reactions is a wonderful hint for the overactive mind.
- What do you do if you have no access to entertainment or books? Think about the future? Reminisce about the past? Admire the things around you? These are all subtle indicators of larger play activities, for instance planning imaginary futures, writing about the past, appreciating and creating beauty.
Perhaps you won’t find any form of delightful play at all. While you may see joyful adults running around, delighting in reconnecting with their childhood loves, you may be on the sidelines. And yet, that would be totally ok. Because maybe your way of playing in that moment is to be the watcher, to be the sad and lonely clown, the admiring bystander, the peaceful observer. Or perhaps, while sitting there, you will see an insect crawling by, and you may both share a moment together, perhaps even one that is playful.