By Tim E. Renzelmann (September 25th, 2021)
Let me begin with a confession: The activities of recent days (October 14th to 19th) have been concentrated and intense and left me feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted! No worries though. Not only have I been there before, but it’s not a bad place to be. You see, I wasn’t overwhelmed and exhausted by work and worry... but by play and joy!
As I have written many times before, I am a strong proponent of the importance of Play! I feel quite fortunate. As I entered high school (in the late 70s), a time in many people’s lives when they are often guided away from “foolish play” towards more “serious work” of preparing for adulthood, I found the words, writings and wisdom of Dr. George Sheehan.
“Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.” – George Sheehan, MD
Sheehan advocated the benefits of play through his columns, books and talks, and I tried to absorb it all! It helped that we both enjoyed a shared form of Play – running. But George admitted that running wasn’t for everyone and it wasn’t the only way to Play.
“Run only if you must. If running is an imperative that comes from inside you and not from your doctor. Otherwise, head the inner calling in your own Play. Listen if you can to the person you were and are and can be. Then do what you do best and feel best at. Something you would do for nothing. Something that gives you security and self-acceptance and a feeling of completion; even moments when you are fused with your universe and your Creator. When you find it, build your life around it.”
I would build my life around running for over three decades. Running (or, more accurately now, jogging) is still a part of my life. But I have also found many other forms of Play including kayaking, hiking/backpacking, snowshoeing, canoeing, disc golf, rowing, orienteering, and most recently kite flying!
I will admit, in some ways, it was simpler when all I did was run. My daily Play, my daily run, was constant and consistent. Now I have so many options and there are days when I struggle just deciding how I want to Play! But with this variety of Play comes more diverse experiences, greater enjoyment and a wider range of health benefits for mind, body, heart and spirit. As the saying goes, “Variety is the spice of life.”
So get out there and Play! Follow the advice of Nike’s “Play New” commercial (which I referenced in a previous piece earlier this year): https://scccf.org/post?s=the-world-according-to-tim-update-29-days-of-29-minutes-or-more-of-29-different-activities-2021-06-30) that concludes:
Here’s to going down way harder than you get back up.
Giving it your all even though you kind of suck.
But you know what doesn’t suck? Trying to do something you’ve never done before.
That doesn’t suck at all. Not eve a little.
Part Two Preview (or Warning): There has been much written about how Play teaches valuable life lessons to kids... but we are all kids! This next piece is long enough, so in the next issue I will refer back to some of these Play experiences and explore the valuable lessons and reminders that they can offer us.