Prioritizing PLAY Just Might Change My Life
Confession: I take an embarrassingly Ricky-Bobby approach to life.
I mean, "If ya ain't first, you're last," am I right?
In my effort to peel back the layers of my do more better, faster, and longer mindset, I've realized something about myself.
Promise you won't disown me?
I don't think I know how to have fun.
Jess, EVERYONE knows how to have fun. What do you mean?
You see, earlier this week, I started listening to Annie F. Downs' podcast, "That Sounds Fun" mostly because Jess Connolly called her "the best podcaster on the planet," and I really respect her opinion on just about anything from lipstick to smoothies to life choices. AND I saw that Annie had my girl Shauna Niequist on the show, so I was sold.
At one point in every show, Annie asks, "What sounds fun to you right now?"
The first time, it stopped me dead in my tracks.
That's it? What sounds fun? What good is that question gonna do, Annie?
But as I listened to the answers, I found myself overwhelmed with increasing ENVY. I thought, "Wait…fun? Can I have that?"
And, just like that, another layer of perfectionism peeled its stinky self back, and I thought, DANG. I'm so task-obsessed that I don't even know what SOUNDS fun to me.
I know it seems silly, but as an Enneagram One, forever-deep-thinker, and dreamer-to-a-fault, fun is really hard for me. I constantly feel like every action should mean PROGRESS, and no minute should be wasted. My tasks and daily to-do's in my life and business are stones on the road to the person I dream of becoming one day.
But what about learning to just be a person TODAY--instead of a task-completer, goal-achiever, I-will-impress-you-I-promise kind of... automoton?
Then, of course, I let it go. Because—tasks.
In the midst of one of my tasks—reading Essentialism—I got to the chapter where he talks about PLAY.
“We are built to play and built through play. When we play, we are engaged in the purest expression of our humanity, the truest expression of our individuality. Is it any wonder that often the times we feel most alive, those that make up our best memories are moments of play?” -Greg McKeown
McKeown argues that true progress and creativity can’t happen without some REAL FUN.
His definition of play is “anything we do simply for the joy of doing rather than as a means to an end.”
What makes you feel alive?
What do you do that has no achievement or accomplishment attached to it?
And he goes on…
“Play expands our minds in ways that allows us to explore: to germinate new ideas or see old ideas in a new light. It makes us more attuned to novelty, more engaged.” -Greg McKeown
As I was reading, I found myself thinking, "Okay, dude. I get it. We need to play. But, do you have a list of acceptable forms of play? Ideas to get me started? Is there an female entrepreneur playgroup I can join?"
Almost as if he was inside my head, he explained to start by looking back at what brought you joy as a kid. What did you do for hours?
Things that have brought me joy since I was a kid:
sports (playing, not watching)
dreaming about the future
learning new things
That seems like a good place to start, right?
Then, of course, I put it on the back burner, because—tasks.
I went out on a walk with my pup and listened to another podcast—one that always helps me take a deep breath, gain a new perspective, muster the courage to be exactly where I am, The Next Right Thing.
And what was she talking about, might you ask?
A.K.A. HAVING FUN.
Okay, okay. I GET IT.
She cited Winston Churchill as the spark of this thought journey for her, as he was an avid, but completely amateur painter.
Helpful tidbit: Whatever you choose should be the polar opposite of what you do for work.
Churchill, a religious and political leader, decided to take up painting—probably the furthest activity from his day-to-day tasks.
In the same way, I love to read and write. I get SO MUCH joy and energy from it.
But, um, duh. That's why I chose those things as a business!
If my hobby was reading or writing, it would not give me the true soul-rest that I'm looking for.
Even more importantly, it wouldn’t give me space to try, enjoy, fill up, but not achieve.
What things do you do that take your mind off of everything else?
When do you get home feeling tired and fulfilled instead of tired and DRAINED/SPENT?
I went back to my childhood list, and I found the one thing that brings me so much joy that I’ve almost cut out of my life completely.
My goal this week is to pick up my guitar and start to learn. It won’t be pretty. I won’t be good at it. It will feel like a waste at first, but I’m going to trust that, eventually, it will be something that brings me clarity and fulfillment and fuels me in my actual tasks and in my quest to be a real human.
If you're like me and you struggle to do fun things that aren't productive things, I think we need to step forward in this together. It could have a huge impact, not only, on who we're becoming, but on our joy and capacity right this very second.
Who knows, maybe dying of laughter every once in awhile could afford you more life-giving space to breathe than you ever dreamed possible.
Will you join me?
P.S. If you're one of those Enneagram 7's that prioritizes fun (like Annie Downs) come teach me. Please. Get me out of my comfort zone, and roll your eyes when I hyperventilate at the thought of spontaneity.
Make a fun list! I’ll be posting my fun list periodically on stories, and I encourage you to do the same! Once you make your list, choose just ONE THING to do for 30 minutes this week. Make note of how you feel. Repeat.
PLEASE share your next step with me in the comments or tag me over on Instagram (@jessjordana) so I can cheer you on and share with the masses!
Also, feel free to DM me. I’m a fan of other people who stalk Insta stories, so don’t be shy!