Inversely correlated with the rise of The Fear (you know, the thing that makes you dry heave at the top of a death slide age 16 in front of your mum and first real boyfriend – for shame) is the fall of ‘The Silliness’. It’s a sad demise: the silliness is the thing that keeps us playful and light, that stokes our creativity and resourcefulness, the thing that prompts us to sit on the floor with a four year old discussing the merits of cacti in all their spiky weirdness for two hours straight. The silliness – playfulness, spiritedness, vivacity whatever you want to call it – is the thing that helps us embrace life, to find the joy and help us through the bloody serious business of adulting.
Because if you aren’t relentlessly juggling your responsibilities, workload, promotions, pay rises, council tax, getting series 2 of the Santa Clarita Diet nailed, personal development, halting middle aged spread, pension provision, relationships, parenting, crows feet, the impact of inflation, your impact on the environment, achy knees ad infinitum are you even really adulting right?
Most of it is non-negotiable, we have to tackle the mundanity of adulthood – and the achy knees – but to do it all without setting aside time for fun is a bit like self flagellation. And that’s entirely optional.
Too often we discard the inherent silliness of childhood in favour of The Fear and the deliciously uncomfortable inhibition we’re so very good at. We lose sight of the value of embracing playfulness as an absolute necessary part of life, we forget the beauty of just letting go – it is precisely because so very much of life is inescapably serious that we should give ourselves over to play as a priority.
That’s not to say we should knob about with blatant disregard for the rules and responsibilities our respective lives present more that we should seek opportunities to create fun in the spaces in between, that we commit real time to understanding what makes us belly laugh or feel good and free and happy and then do more of those things.
I’m heading firmly into ‘preach it sister’ territory but finding the joy is important and if any of that waffle resonates, try to set aside some time for play in your every day. I’m definitely not a pro at this yet, I don’t know anyone who is – all of life is one big ongoing opportunity for learning and self-discovery and every new thing we learn that floats our respective boats is an absolute gift, discuss – but committing to at least trying to make space for fun is a huge step in the right direction. And it’s helped me through some monstrous stuff.
It is too easy to just keep putting one foot in front of the other to get from one hard moment to the next instead of pausing to enjoy the ridiculously pure pleasure that comes from dancing around the kitchen without inhibition or bellowing out some old Whitney whilst driving to work or making your body do something you didn’t think it ever could because you’re relaxed and having fun *cough* crow pose, no regrets *cough*.
Make time for tree climbing, being outside, chasing sunrises, crying with laughter, using your imagination, running around the garden with children (or puppies), painting, stomping through the snow, turning your desk into a fort, feeding your soul, making new friends, spending time with old ones, eating the cake, smiling at strangers, prank calling your husband, skidding your way around Sainsbury’s clinging to the trolley for dear life. Be strict about it because aside from just feeling really bloody nice, prioritising silliness keeps you young and creative and less stressed. It makes us more connected and open. It increases our energy levels and makes us more curious about the world. All of which can *only* enhance our experience of life: no-one gets to their death bed life recap and wishes they’d spent less time playing.
Science agrees. Or at least this TED talk by Stuart Brown does https://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital
The human condition is full of ordinary moments and tough moments and everything in between, it is the greatest of gifts to be able to prioritise being a bit daft amidst it all.
Starting to talk about the human condition and getting more than a little bit patronising feels like a good place to end this. Go, be weird, be eccentric. Just have more fun. Let me know how that goes.