Don't stop playing!
"We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw.
I signed off my last blog with a quote from G.B. Shaw, I thought it only right to open this one with another. It’s a cornerstone of my philosophy for life. My cousin married her partner in adventure recently and in a heartfelt note on her Facebook, she wished that they would grow old together, but never grow up. That’s the goal. I’m not encouraging you to follow the ‘Step Brothers’ route, but if you want to be jobless and living off your parents at 40, you do you my friend.
As a teenager "cop on and grow up", or the classic "act your age" were often uttered for my ‘benefit’ – and if I’m totally honest, the last time I heard this was about 3 weeks ago. I'm still at sea as to what I’m supposed to learn from these nuggets of wisdom. “Act your age” is dripping with expectation.
It implies that certain ages denote certain milestones along the path of life. Newsflash!! Some people are in the fast lane, some are still figuring it out (see previous blog) and hey some people aren’t even on the same road – and that’s a good thing!
It’s my job to teach kids, but honestly we can learn so much from them too. Each new day fills children with so much wonder and excitement – ever noticed how they’re ALL morning people?? Most of us lose this sense of wonder as we grow older.
From the day we go to ‘Big School’ we are taught to be independent - the sooner we learn to do things for ourselves the better. Unfortunately for some this means turning children into miniature grown-ups. Since when are autonomy and fun mutually exclusive?
I understand the importance of play in my students' days, and I teach through play whenever possible. It's very easy to get busy as we get older and forget that we too, even as 'adults' need play in our lives. This doesn’t have to be the same play of our childhood years, although I am still partial to a game of Pokémon and I’m hoping to build a fort this weekend but that’s beside the point.
As we move through life responsibilities tend to stick to us like Velcro to a jumper, and of course that's part of everyday life, but the trick is to not let them drag you down. It's not difficult to spot people whose backs are bowed heavy with the weight of the world.
Fun and laughter help to lighten the load. Play is all about doing something purely for the fun of it. So dance, have a kick-around, take that road trip – whatever makes you happy. I can hear the cries of “But I’m too busy!”; “But I don’t have time!” - make time (or you know, be miserable and boring, it’s entirely up to you)! Make time for fun, for you. Laugh every day. I want to get to 80 and be proud of my laugh lines and crows’ feet, not hiding stress and frown lines! Roald Dahl was a wonderful human being.
He encapsulated everything I’m trying to say – he grew old but never grew-up. He never lost his sparkle. So I leave you with this jewel…
“When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important: A stodgy parent is not fun at all! What a child wants - and DESERVES - is a parent who is SPARKY!” –Roald Dahl.