Fifteen years ago I stopped playing and started the serious part of life. I went to college, graduated, got a job, a husband, a child a mortgage and became a responsible adult. From the time I was 18 until I was 32 I stopped playing. My motto became say yes to work and no to fun. You have a boring, mind numbing task of a job – I’m your girl!
I saw my role in the world as a supporter – a cheerleader. I encouraged my husband to get his PhD, play flag football, volunteer on the Basketball committee and homeowners association, work full time and ride his motorcycle. I encouraged my child to make friends, do his homework (yes his preschool gives homework), and learn the basics of life as a human.
I felt success could only be achieved if I was working full time, cooking breakfast and dinner, helping with volunteer projects, paying the bills, doing the yard work and reading a story at night before bedtime. You know – being the responsible one so others could accomplish their goals and have fun. It was official; I was an adult (a really stressed, miserable and boring adult) but an adult none the less.
Well last year that all changed. With a marriage headed for disaster, a child who was being managed (not raised and enjoyed) and a job that offered few challenges – I started to play. I joined the girl’s flag football league. For 2 hours three times a week I forgot about work, my problems and being an adult. I simply played football with all the energy and spirit of my long contained 12 year old self. I fell down, dropped the ball, got massive cringe-worthy bruises, caught the ball and almost scored a touchdown.
I went to every practice. I had fun. I found friends. I lost weight. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself – I felt like I belonged. So what did I do? I felt the desire to create again – I started playing more.
I started sewing and made a dress. It turned out pretty good. I started baking again and am opening my own cake company. I’m even going back to school to get my MBA. Playing may not fix a marriage, but it can make the problems seem less ginormous. Playing may not raise a child but it will teach him that even at 4 it is good to keep playing – even as an adult.
You don’t have to be serious to be successful and responsible. The question I’m still asking is why did I waste so many years being serious? But the most important thing I discovered was the me I used to be – before I became a serious adult.
My next project? Start making cabinets for our living room. I have the tools – why not play with them?