When we were growing up, play was an essential part of life. But many of us forget how to play when we are older, there’s so little time. Many of us don’t even know how to play. Often we don’t realise this until we have our own kids and we see other parents getting involved with paints and cooking with their own kids, getting messy and we find ourselves sat watching almost frozen to the spot or watching the clock, thinking when can I get the hell out of here?
Many of my clients had a demanding childhood where self-sufficiency from a young age was valued whether that was because parents were busy elsewhere with work or physically present, but emotionally absent.
The result is that many midlifers don’t know how to play, even though they may have the time and resources to do so. Often they feel guilty about taking time out and feel they ‘should’ be working. Play is an important part of our lives and continued happiness, so I ask, ‘Can you give yourself permission to play?’
But how do I play? I hear you cry! Well, what did you enjoy doing when you were young? British bulldogs in the playground, riding around on your Chopper? Roller disco? Wrestling? Rugby? Hockey? There’s something very pure about the pastimes we engaged in when we were younger. They tend to be less society led, less expensive and more about being with a group of friends and being free and having fun. Decisions about what game to play were made often without influence, you can’t fake having a good time. So, think about bringing these past interests into the present,
How about getting a road bike or doing an army style mud run. Did you enjoy boxing, did Rocky influence you? If so how about some combat sessions at the gym especially because in midlife we are less inclined to want a punch in the face. If rugby was your thing, consider joining a veterans team, maybe just to train and a pint afterwards, not necessarily to play competitively.
Our early lives can hold the secret to our natural enjoyment of how to play before our adult self became conditioned and sensible.
For more midlife tips and tricks, follow me on Twitter @DrJulieHannan.