When Is The Last Time You Played?
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
About a week or so ago, my boyfriend and I made our way to a nearby park. The plan was to walk a couple of laps, then throw a Frisbee. He played Ultimate in college, but I had barely thrown a disc since my freshman poetry class was forced outside to play yard games and a rogue Frisbee busted me in the mouth. I had stood there and watched it come closer to me in my peripheral vision (it flew in sideways from the group of students beside me), yet did nothing. I accepted my fate, and almost had to get stitches while embracing the fact that I looked like a duck for the next few days.
We made our way to a green patch, the dangerous Frisbee in hand, when I casually asked "Do you want to play?", then laughed, realizing I had sounded like a child. I did not say "Want to toss the Frisbee", or "Are you ready", but instead - "Do you want to play?"
I had not asked anyone if they had wanted to play since I was in elementary school, knocking on neighborhood children's doors. My sister, five years younger than me and filled with unlimited energy, would incessantly ask the same question in our youth. "Do you want to play?", while I had just finished playing with her for the past two hours and finally cracked open a book I was eager to get back to. "Give me a few minutes", I'd say, exhausted, for even at 10 years old, I was nearing 50. She'd ask again, sitting cross-legged on the floor as I flipped through pages. My mom, sensing my annoyance, told me that I would miss this one day. As always, she was right.
"Yeah, let's play," my boyfriend grinned. And we did. I ran, and jumped, and giggled each time the Frisbee flew in a completely different direction than where I was aiming, silently hoping there wasn't an unsuspecting poetry student nearby that I could hit in the face.
As we finished and walked back home, I wondered if there was really anything wrong or juvenile with wanting to play. Why doesn't the concept of playing translate into adulthood? I can remember when I first started receiving clothes and make-up instead of toys as a preteen, and how I was crushed then. What about now?
Amidst our stressful work-lives, the country's current political climate, and the every day struggles of just trying to survive, I don't think we should not shy away from playing. I escape each week with RPGs and board games with friends, and creating art can be a form of play as well, especially when experimenting with something new. I have previously read that going through our old toys and books can help ease anxiety, and I personally plan on doing that more. I mean, I am a 25 year old who has tons of stuffed animals and a whole game-room filled with Star Wars figurines, so who am I really fooling? I don't want to deny my inner-child anymore.
I urge you all to embrace the idea of playing as well. Cut-up an old magazine to create a collage, or dust off your favorite childhood video game that you haven't touched in years (Donkey Kong Country for Super Nintendo will always bring back pleasant memories for me). Finger paint, do a poetry exercise, throw a baseball, or treat yourself to a frivolous doo-dad. There is nothing wrong with indulging that inner wonder.
*~Last minute fun side-notes~*:
- Did you guys know that "Frisbee" is supposed to be capitalized? I originally had a lowercase "f" and my computer kept underlining it until I was seriously questioning if I even knew how to spell Frisbee. I suppose it makes sense, since it is a brand after all, but what do we call all of the other discs? Are they nameless? That is just sad.
- As I continue to work through some personal things (2017 has been a rough one, both personally and globally) I apologize that I have not been updating regularly. Some things I am learning that I would like to pass along: It's okay to not be doing what you think you should be doing, all the time. Don't be so hard on yourself. If you need to take a break, then that is completely fine. Also, remember to take care of yourselves. If you would tell a good friend to practice self care and take it easy, then tell yourself the same thing. You are deserving of that.
- Although I may only update once a week right now, I am active on Facebook and social media. If you feel so moved, you can follow me on Twitter @JordanAbbz or like my Facebook page. Much love to you all!