George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old : we grow old because we stop playing.”
I am the first to admit that I have a childlike spirit that enjoys playing far more than working. However, I notice that our sons learned early how to turn their work into play. Adam embraces the rocks, trees, and waters in Washington. It is his playground whether he is on a project for EPA , or he and Annie are escaping to the wilderness to dodge the business of Seattle. He posts photos from a canoe trips that echo the beauty of the mountains reflecting in the waters. The newlyweds take their dog Sedona on hikes with them and embrace the natural to find the extraordinary.
I was walking and skipping a little too yesterday. Dobie, my rescued mix breed, and I were taking our daily walk around the neighborhood. Now, I have been doing this over thirty years. ( All my dogs were walkers. I wonder why?) You would think I would have inventoried every home and lawn and be bored. But, each walk I discover something new that brings joy. On this day, Dobie and I saw a young teen doing a masterful drawing on the sidewalk. He was using colored chalk and turning it into pundit art. He created a new scene from a familiar one.
Our oldest son’s daughters teach me to embrace the commonplace and just play freely. We take a chipped and worn tea set and celebrate English high tea. With my granddaughters, Ava and Ellie, I can put on a crumpled hat and become a monster. A cast off pink crinoline evolves me into a famous dancer. I can put on a crooked smile with a tattered vest and bring peals of laughter as I try to walk our imaginary tight rope. We love playing babies, dress up, and making a routine into an exceptional story.
Sometimes I have discovered swirling, laughing, or just swinging helps me reclaim my youth. After doing a quick little arabesque, I picked up Patti Digh’s book, Four Word Self Help. She chooses four words to instruct the reader on simple wisdom. Four varied words which help simplify my life. Playful meditations that turn my complex world into a simple reality. Today I am taking time to see the angels in the white fluffy, cloud formations. I drove four miles just to visually enjoy a field of cadmium yellow sun flowers. I just finished sitting on my glider singing Jesus Loves Me. These activities resurrect the child within. Somehow a mediocre day just shifted into an exceptional one.