Friday, September 11, 2020

The Play Project Pivot

Hello again. I’ve missed writing these bi-monthly blog posts. I intentionally took time off to re-evaluate my work and consider what I want to do next. As a result of this break, I learned I need more play and playfulness in my life. And so, I’m creating the Play Project.


My goal is to bring more play into my life—more fun, more joy, more community, more spontaneity and whimsy. I’m doing it for me. But I also recognize that the people who are drawn to my work, also tend to have trouble placing value on play. For those of us who are looking for retirement to be more than a 365-day vacation, investing in the value of leisure and play is one of the areas we might be least prepared to do well.


In this first Play Project post, I’m giving you a brief glimpse of what you can expect in the coming months. Play is best done with others, so if you’re interested in playing along and experimenting with play exercises, please contact me and I’ll add you to our play group. You’ll receive monthly play exercises and be involved in play research. And it will be fun!


Defining Play

When I tell people that I’m going to research and experiment with play in retirement, one of the first things I’m asked is, “What is your definition of play?” At first, I said I needed to do more research before having a definition. But now, after reading some of the research related to the state of play, I’ve decided that play is not easily defined. Nor does it need to be defined. As Fred Rogers, as in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, says, “It’s not easy to come up with a definition of play that feels just right. And that’s probably because something deep within all of us ‘knows’ the immense value of play.”


What is play? You’ll know it when you feel it. For some, what is work for others will be play.


I’m Just Playing


When I’m exploring a crazy idea, before mentioning it up to my husband, I often preface it with “I’m just playing…” This keeps him from forming an immediate response to my idea. A response that would usually try to talk some sense into my idea and show me all the reasons why it won’t work or it’s not practical, or we’re too old or something…Not that he’s a pessimist. He’s just a realist. But reality is what we make it so by just playing we can challenge reality.


Schedule a Play Date


When we make ourselves accountable to another person we are more apt to show up. Accountability in retirement is a good idea. Not so that we'll do the things we don’t want to do, but so we'll do the things we do want to do! This is why inviting another person to join us in a play experience is a good idea. Plus, the social interaction will be an added bonus.


Create a Play List


Lovers of music usually have a play list that they create on their favorite platform, be it Spotify, Amazon Music, or whatever. It’s a place you can go to and be assured you’ll hear the music you prefer. I suggest creating your own Play play list. What types of activities do you enjoy doing? Make a list. If you’re having trouble knowing what type of play you prefer, consider what you liked to do as a kid. What got you really excited and brought you joy? When you’re feeling bored, visit your Play list and find something to do.


Getting Good at Play


There are a whole lot of things that make up a rewarding and meaningful retirement, many of which I speak about in my online course. But even if you ace all these components, there’s still time in the day for more. You’ll still be asking, “What will I do all day?” This is why getting good at play is so important. It’s as important as creating meaningful work in retirement and being involved in meaningful volunteer roles, and giving away money to charitable organizations. Good play makes up a great retirement.


Copyright 2020. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.