I had been using this excuse myself for so long that I really had to step back and think about it. I’d just become so accustomed to it that it felt like truth. When I gave it some more thought I realized that this idea is a really common message we hear, either explicitly or implicitly, as we grow up. We live in a culture that highly values work: we don’t take our vacations; we’re afraid to be caught leaving work early; and we commonly answer the question “How are you?” with the reply, “Busy.” Play is considered something for children and part of becoming an adult is leaving those childish pursuits behind. I suspect that losing our creative confidence as we move into adulthood is part of this.
Though child’s play and adult play may take different forms and serve different purposes, it is no less important. When I started creative play, I brought some joy back into my life, my stress went down, and I also started being more playful in general, which I am sure my family appreciates. The Help Guide lists the following benefits of play:
- Relieve stress
- Improve brain function
- Stimulate the mind and boost creativity
- Improve relationships and your connection with others
- Keep you feeling young and energetic.
So the real truth is that you are never too old to play, but a surefire way to make yourself feel old is to have a life that is all work and no play. I’m tired of feeling old, aren’t you?