A while ago, my talented friend Gabe wrote an article for The Post Calvin. Gabe’s writing is always great to read, but this one stood out to me in particular. I highly suggest you read the whole thing (it’s not long), but if you’re short on time, I’ll share my favorite parts:
“You see, in my new, post-collegiate reality, I’ve cleaved life into two competing halves: work and rest. Or, more personally: child-wrangling and Netflix. The two complement and necessitate one another; I spend long hours at school so that I can fund long vacations and spend Friday nights draining my laptop battery to catch up on TV so I can re-charge for Monday morning. It’s a self-promoting, chicken-and-egg system. What I realized while running last month, though, is that in my bustling adult life, I have nearly abandoned a third, essential component: play…
This kind of play is not high-stakes or high-brow. Instead, true play is a space where there is nothing to lose or to gain, where every part of a person—mind, body, spirit—must be acting in free and complete communion. It is a space that requires creativity, demands activity, and necessitates silliness—a space requiring the industriousness of work with the safety of rest…
Because play isn’t only something that brings us into communion with ourselves, but allows us to commune with others as well.”
This idea of playfulness and it’s necessity in our life has stuck with me ever since reading Gabe’s article back in April. He talks mostly about the childlike kind of play, being silly, goofing around, etc. but there’s another type of playfulness that his article makes me think about. The playfulness of being open to possibility and taking risks even if you’re not sure where they’ll take you. I’m turning 25 on Saturday. 25 is an age that feels a bit strange. On the one hand, I’m still really young. I could easily live another 60+ years, (which is already crazy to think about), but on the other hand, 25 feels like a crucial spot to be in and at times a very serious one. It’s not that anybody has ever said to me “when you turn 25, you should have life figured out”, it’s just an automatic stigma that comes with your mid-twenties. I’ve been out of college for a few years, time to have things mostly sorted out right? Great. I’m a bit behind. I think this is why Gabe’s article has been ringing so true with me. Yes, I’m an adult (rental car, check), but yes, I am young, and I hope that I take a sense of playfulness further than just turning 25. Because why shouldn’t a 50-year-old be playful? Why shouldn’t an 80-year-old be playful? Why should any point in our life feel like the end of all life-changing and possibly amazing decisions? It doesn’t need to be.
The importance of playfulness is not only sparking laughter and letting yourself be silly, it is also being able to embrace the sense of possibility. It’s having goals and dreams and enjoying the process of reaching them. It’s coming to a fork in the road at any stage of life and choosing to be joyful for the new adventure a decision will make instead of squished by the possibility of mistake. It’s getting up from life’s inevitable mistakes a stronger and more knowledgable person and trying something else. The adventure just keeps going, so it might as well be fun.
Photos by Jordan Guanga