How has play changed the course of my approach to life? It is one of my primary approaches to life. the means by which I navigate and travel my path in life. Unlike many, I hold fast to the belief that just because I grow older, doesn’t mean I have to stop thinking, viewing or interacting with the world around me as I did when I was younger.
So the question becomes not how has play changed the course of my life, but rather how do I change myself and the direction I take in life through play?
“Let us venture out in to this glorious new day. With open minds and ready hands we’ll free our hearts to play.”
Play is looking at the world or something in it, and seeing in it the possibilities of what it could be, or is not, and in doing so better understanding all that it is. Play is following the instinct of curiosities whim; it’s turning abruptly left down a street to find another route that will bring me to the street that is to my right. Play’s personification promotes the perpetuation of memory and the lessons of my education. Play is stopping to give a tree a familiar friendly pat on the bark and ask, “Hello there brother Acer sacharum (red maple). Why are you growing in this swamp (I thought you preferred more well drained sites)? Is that why your leaves are so disheveled and your growth so stunted, or is it a disease or pest that infests you?”
Play makes the mundane, less likely to drive me insane. It’s the difference between the drudgery of having to walk to the store to get groceries, and taking on the challenge and opportunity of embarking on an epic hunter gatherer journey of survival with my stout walking stick in hand. Play is walking down the street and sparing with inanimate objects; it’s balancing on curbs that have suddenly become tightropes over bottomless chasms; it’s riding my bike and pretending I am flying, or that I am the engine of some powerful 4x4 that I will never be able to own or drive because of my visual impairment; it’s pretending I am flying every time I leap up to touch a leaf high above my head; it’s the involuntary yip of joyful accomplishment that explodes from my lips upon climbing to the top of a 50 or 60ft tree; it’s roaming through the woods with a stout stick, pretending I am the hunter-warrior as a lay about with my sword to hack through and vanquish the dead branches that are the obstacles and struggles baring my way along my path in life; it’s thinking like a wolf every time I see a dog and respond when they bark viciously at me from their fenced in yard by saying aloud, “Good dog, defending your territory. Fear not, I will respect thee.” Then bowing humbly and walking away. Its seeing in the reality that is, the possibility of realities that are not, and in doing so coming to a deeper and more thorough understanding of the environment in which we exist. It’s the act of imitating the qualities of others, be they human, animal or otherwise, that I admire most and wish to aspire to.
It is the process and act of learning to learn by opening one’s mind. It is the physical expression of mental exercise. It is the act of creatively energetic curiosity. It is the expression of a source and outlet of inspiration. It is the instinct of preparing for the challenges of life by creating and solving problems that one will likely never encounter.; it’s gaining vital experience that develop and shape one’s character and confidence, without ever having to face the true hazards and mortal perils of living them first hand.
It’s the behavior that is stifled and oppressed in adults by society as being “inappropriate, or foolish or childish.”, when in truth it is among the greatest gifts of wisdom that youth has to offer. The wisdom of age, is knowing the strength of youth.And the strength of youth, is recognizing the wisdom of age. It’s one of the primary reasons strangers on the street think me weird and/or dangerous.It is an integral part of how I maintain the balance of my physical, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing. I need not and do not “exercise” or “workout)…..I play. And I find it a much more pragmatic and fulfilling means than going to some sweaty overcrowded gym, or playing on some sprots team where everybody is worried about what everybody else thinks of their image. We are all our own greatest enemy. Sometimes the most thorough way to defeat an enemy is to make them your allie. And by competing only with myself, I am always victorious.
Play is pretending that reality, is whatever I will it to beAnd in so doing, living happy and free.
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