By Dolores Day
“We do not stop playing because we grow old — we grow old because we stop playing.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Stop a moment after reading this paragraph and reflect. Go way back to when you were growing up. Yes, you were a child once. We all were. What kind of activities filled your days? What did you absolutely love to do and would have done all day long had your parents not called you in for dinner? What filled up your moments before society, responsibilities and “adulting” got in the way?
At a point in our lives, many of us felt as though we had to stop doing these things for fun and focus on more goal-oriented and financial outcomes. Do you still participate in these activities now? Many of us will answer, undoubtedly, “no.”
Sad really, because many of us even despite having difficult childhood experiences, can no doubt find at least two to three activities that we so loved doing and would have done until the cows came home just because we were so happy. And what a shame, really, because those were the very things that lit us up — made us feel most alive and happy.
I help others get in touch with their inner lost child (soul) and rediscover what they love to do for fun. Dancing? Walking in nature exploring? Reading? Painting? Designing? Cooking? Yoga? Gardening? Scribble down your thoughts right now and take a real hard good look at the activities you enjoy. Are you making time for any of them in your life right now? If doing what we love is by far the quickest way to bring more energy into our life and help us stay young, then we need to prioritize our day and incorporate these back into our daily life.
I stopped reading and writing for decades. I finished college and thought, “Who has the time for this learning and reading bit.” Funny thing though, I found it again in my 40s and my passion and excitement for life just grew. I became ravenous to read and write again for hours. I completely forgot how much I loved it. And just like that, my excitement and energy for life expanded because I made time for doing what I loved!
Maybe it’s not reading for you — maybe it’s studying rocks, or kayaking, paint by numbers or simply walking on the beach. But whatever it is, if you want to stay youthful then you need to put what you love at the top of your list of to do’s and get after it.
Love is a powerful energy source. Benjamin Franklin was right — the body begins to decay and grow old with sickness when we are not bringing more love (energy) into our cells through fun play. Often times, in the absence of doing the things we love, we even begin to fill this void with other activities that are not so high-vibe. For example, mindless consumption of food or hours of television brain-rotting. As a kid, your parents probably had to force you to sit and eat. And, in older generations, many of us didn’t even have cable television or movies.
Yes, things change, but we still have a choice as to what we spend our time doing. We can fill up our time with creative, fun, exciting activities, or we can waste it doing things with little to no reward that may even be insidiously stealing our health. The choice is always ours.
Many people I work with have lost their “spark,” their joy for living, their childhood wonder. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We must begin to think upon the things that once nourished our soul when we were a child. Our inner child knows how to be in the moment and have fun.
Do you remember once having boundless amounts of energy, enthusiasm and curiosity for life? We don’t need to lose these beautiful qualities and mindset just because we reach a certain biological number. Yes, we still have responsibilities and work does call us to earn an income. However, the secret to living a life of joy is simply remembering what we did for fun before expectations and responsibilities grew too heavy and thread those back into our lives. The very things that once inspired us and filled us with energy and life are the what we need to take hold of and begin to participate in more often.
So, begin to give yourself permission to play again. You will find yourself fueled with unlimited energy and feel young and joyful again. Go play!
(De Day is an empowerment life coach who specializes in helping women create and live their best life by teaching them mind-body-soul truths and implementing powerful transformative practices.
To work with her privately please contact her at email@example.com or visit her website at de-day.com)