Play: The Fountain of Youth

How old do you feel?

I'm guessing it probably depends on the day. I know that some days I feel like I'm still twenty, but then on others (usually the day after) my body reminds me I'm not! But as my family members and I pass major milestone ages (my dad will turn eighty next year), George Bernard Shaw's quote keeps coming back to mind.

A few weeks ago after our Thanksgiving celebration, various generations of my family spread out into different rooms to play games. You would have never been able to guess their ages. Keep in mind, that's not always a flattering comment as some adults reverted back to middle school antics. Nonetheless, the house filled with youthful energy and play.

The swing in this image lives in a yard that I walk by often. Most people would look at it and see an old, rusty dilapidated mess. But I wonder what stories it could tell. What romantic moments or parent-child conversations happened here? How many people sat to swing in the sunshine watching children playing in the yard? When did it stop getting used actively and play stop happening around it?

Whenever we introduce ourselves at the beginning of a juggling or skill toy workshop, there's always a few that start out with a guarded, skeptical posture. It says, "Seriously? This stuff's for kids. We have more important things to be doing." By the end of the session however, those individuals exhibit the biggest transformation in the room. They've rolled up their sleeves, laughed freely, and look ten years younger because they enjoyed playful moments with colleagues.

I hope you find opportunities to build playful moments into everyday and I look forward to creating more programs in which we remind people to approach life playfully. That's a powerful step toward feeling youthful, happy, and full of energy.