All I Want To Do Is Play

all i want to do is play

Try this with me. I’m doing it.

Play outside your house every single day.

For instance, some of the things I’ve done this past week: bowling, air hockey, an escape room, chess in the park, tennis.

Some things I have booked: rifle range, archery, basketball.

Sometimes I feel like I have no time to play. I have to do THIS or THAT! But there’s always a tiny bit of time, hidden somewhere – an empty pocket, a secret room in your head.

Benefits:

  • I forget about time. I lose myself in the play.
  • I get exercise.
  • I have fun. Fun is better than not-fun.
  • I make friends.
  • I use my brain.
  • I increase my sense of aim (note: basketball, bowling, pool, ping pong, etc all improve this basic skill we all need: balance/ aim)
  • I forget about my problems. I got 99 problems but PLAY ain’t one.
  • I leave my house. Else I’m trapped here just doing the same routine.
  • We’re natural nomads, not meant to stay in one routine every day.
  • I have to get creative to do a different play thing every day.
  • I get smarter at getting good at new things.
  • Boost my happy neurochemicals that feed reward and pleasure.
  • I’m 48 years old. Reminds me every day how to be a kid again.
  • Reverses aging a tiny bit. Or at least makes aging more fun.

I went to an escape room yesterday.

People gather (you probably won’t know the others), you are given a mission, and there are clues all over the room (secret codes, puzzles, locks that have to be unlocked, bombs that have to be disarmed, etc) and you have 60 minutes to solve them.

One of the clues in the escape room (the mission: prevent the assassination of JFK) was a chessboard (see attached).

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White moves and has a forced mate in 2. I solved it. Magnets under the chessboard opened up a secret room in the wall once the checkmate was on the board.

Everyone high-fived me. I didn’t know any of them. I felt great. I felt like I had accomplished something. I didn’t need a billion dollars to feel that way.

I can feel that way every day. It will boost all my neurochemicals. It will make me see things as not as important as they are. Because I can ESCAPE.

You are looking for answers on what to do with your life.

Trust me: the clues will be found and solved when your mind is playing. Or shooting arrows at a target. Or writing a secret novel on the train.

I’m going to try and do this for 30 straight days. And hopefully…for the next 6000 days after that.


Related Reading: 10 Things I Did During The Worst Year Ever

  • Russo Karsoni

    Hey James, after the rifle range, try clay disk shooting. Super fun and meditative as well!

  • Peter Jungschaffer

    Was it this?
    Bb6
    Nc7
    Qg8

  • We all forget that deep down, we’re still little kids who yearn for movement, fun and adventure.

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  • Gwen Gordon

    Thanks, James, for spreading the gospel of play like our future depends on it. Because it does! And thanks, Charlie for providing the nudge. Now to cultivate the mature playfulness, the wisdom, lightheartedness, humor, joy, and spontaneity, that can turn anything into play without denying its gravity. That’s freedom and fullness! Playing more is a good start…