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Remember when we were kids and nothing was so serious? From joking around with friends at school to after-school games, everything seemed like a game. When we were kids, we tried everything, and nothing was off limits (unless your parents grounded you). Our imagination and creativity came out to play every single day. Each new experience, place or field trip illuminated our neurons, and the possibilities were endless.
Then we became adults. Bills, responsibilities, worries, stress, anxiety, all these things enter our lives at different points but there are similar challenges of becoming a self-reliant human being. But why does our sense of play disappear as we get older? Is it to be done? No way.
“Playing” can be anything: horse riding, hiking, football, watching football with friends and having a cold beer, traveling, eating in great restaurants or just going for a walk and looking around. Sport is a mindset. It is important that we welcome it in our daily lives and promote it as much as we can. This way:
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1. Find Your Sandbox
What did you do the first time your parents put you in the sandbox? After a few dazed and confused moments, you probably started to grab a fist full of sand, to see what it was that begged to be thrown. Maybe you have started making this mysterious substance into various shapes and compositions. Maybe some of your masterpieces have been a little raw. Over time, your time in the sandbox yielded better and more ornate items. Playing around allows you to get into a state of flow, where you are completely consumed with the task at hand, ignoring everything else around you.
As an adult, there are unlimited sandboxes to play with. The only thing you have to give up is your fear of looking stupid or naive, and just dive into it. When you start seeing a world full of sandboxes just waiting to be tried, everything starts to feel a little less serious.
It’s all about finding the sandboxes you like to play in. The only way to do this is to experiment and try many new things. Saying “yes” instead of “no”. Going out of your comfort zone. Common cliché!
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2. Build Your Treehouse (Community)
The times that I remember most clearly from my childhood always involved playing with my friends. The small communities we built – each complete with our own lingo, our own rules and our own customs – were unforgettable. As we grow, our communities change rapidly. High schools and colleges are ready communities that are structured and familiar.
Once you leave school, you realize how fluid and unstructured real life really is. This can be liberating or scary depending on your point of view. Try looking at it this way: You now have the freedom to build your own treehouse and invite whoever you want into it. The Internet has popped open around the world, and we can connect with people who share our values and interests, no matter where they live.
Your treehouse isn’t just limited to coworkers or your old friends. Any time is a great time to make new connections and fill your treehouse with charming, like-minded people. At the end of the day, community and connections are what really complete us – being part of a group that is bigger than ourselves. That’s exactly what sharing, learning and growing with long-term friends is all about.
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3. Explore New Neighborhoods
Moving to a new neighborhood was such an exciting experience when we were little. Each neighborhood had its own secret about it which always brought new experiences. But as we grow up, some kind of natural human instinct begins to consolidate and settle down. It can be easy to lose that spark to the unknown, the new, the fresh. Make it your intention to keep looking for new discoveries.
Travel is the treat to connect your “neighborhood”. The more we travel, the more our eyes open to the infinite ways we can live our one, precious life. Travel can be as near or far as you want… to the next city or far away country. It is this curious finding that allows us to have an element of “play” in our discoveries.
So, while work and other obligations demand most of our time, it is important to find time to play as well. Start by finding your sandbox, building your community, and exploring new places.