Our life purpose is to die without regrets and to support others to do the same. One of the most common human regrets is “I wish I had been more playful and had more fun.”
Often we label activities that do not generate income or produce a tangible result as “silly,” “mindless,” or “childish,” yet creating the space for play in your life is an investment in your wellbeing that will renew you, refocus your attention, and set you on a pathway to more creativity and connections.
Do you welcome childlish plays into your work life?
It’s so easy to take ourselves and what we do too seriously to be playful. You would have thought it might be different for people working in the creative sector, yet in my experience, even artists, musicians, and writers often seek to avoid the craziness and spontaneity of childish play. It’s too scary.
When you abandon yourself to childish play you, are surrendering authorship and control. The results are unpredictable and often messy. And that, of course, is the reason why playful abandon needs to be welcomed into your work life. When we give up ‘looking good’ or ‘being right’ or ‘acting professional’, and allow ourselves to fail and look foolish, we open ourselves up to the possibility of crazy, never dreamed of invention and creativity.
How much time do you spend on your private passions?
Our most common dying regret is “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected.” Perhaps you’re a lawyer who once wanted to be a painter or a teacher who always dreamed of being a chef. Allocating yourself time each week to paint or cook (or whatever it is you love to do) will leave you feeling more fulfilled and excited about life.
What activities renew and revitalize you? Do you participate in these activities regularly?
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” is people’s second most common regret. Most of us prioritize work, and then family, over the activities which rejuvenates us. You may feel fulfilled in the work you do or your role within your family, yet any activity which leaves you feeling lighter or more joyous is important to your levels of energy, your wellbeing, and your sense of self.
Do you make space and time to relax and enjoy yourself and others?
A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends (Lillian, Gloria and a one Mujimba) came to stay. We cooked together and we went swimming, but what we will both remember forever is the evening we spent laughing uncontrollably about some of the most offensive things we had ever said to each other over the past 10 years. And it would never have happened if we’d been on a busy schedule. Play is not only light-hearted and childish, it is a path to connection. We need to make space and time to relax and enjoy ourselves and others.
Do you purposely create fun for yourself and others?
Yes, it’s important to leave space in your life for voluntarily fun, but it’s often very useful to plan for play.
We plan events around work and family, but when was the last time you planned to swim in a lake, sing karaoke, play dress-up, go for a tubing on the Nile, crave ice cream Ugandan made (kulukuluba), fly a kite or sleep under the stars?
Other people may judge how successful you are based on your wealth and status, your possessions and accomplishments, but you’re only here on earth for approximately 1000 months (83.5 years) and if you haven’t had much play or adventure and you haven’t pursued your private passions, how successful will you feel? I repeat the question ” how successful will you feel?”