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September 17, 2021

Why Being Playful & Curious is Important for a Happy Life.

 

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When I hear the words “I am bored,” I grimace a little.

If I am totally honest, this totally grinds on me.

In the year 2021, with all the endless possibilities of technology-based or nature-fueled activities (paid or free, indoors or outdoors), surely we can not be bored.

I understand that some days we feel that nothing outrageous, fun, or crazy happens, but I just don’t understand this boredom statement.

We have the choice to be bored or not to be bored.

We can free ourselves from boredom by using our imagination to discover an activity that could fill us with joy.

Surely, we owe that to everyone who has taken their last breath. They no longer have the choice to be bored or not. Their time on this planet has gone.

People seem to struggle to fill up their weekends. Without plans and hobbies, our imaginations shut down. We wish away the time between Friday evening and Monday morning or whenever we aren’t working.

We watch time float by with nothing significant to report on a Monday morning.

When we are children, we could spend all the time in the world playing by ourselves or exploring the outdoors with our friends. We made up games. Do you remember how wild that was?

Our imaginations were pushed to the max of their ability. We enjoyed nature for hours until we were hungry or needed the toilet. We always arrived home, full of fresh air and fun memories.

I used to explore the farmlands around my home and remember feeling the air on my face as I cycled on my bike. It was just me and my friend chatting and squealing together, chasing those feelings of joy. We were so free from responsibility.

As children, we are curious beings who love to chase new adventures. We do things that make us feel alive and joyful. Our young souls are full and our faces sore from smiling. Life was simple, effortless, and refreshing.

My sisters and I would make perfume or daisy chains from the flowers in our garden. After visiting the library, I would line up all the books in my house for rent and then become the customer to rent the books to. I had conversations with myself as the librarian and the customer.

I remember playing board games on the floor on Friday nights then a movie night with my family on a Saturday. On Sunday, we would spend a lazy afternoon swimming at the local pool.

It all seems so simple when I reflect back on those nostalgic feelings.

As we grow older, our imaginations are dampened by all the day-to-day adult struggles. We have expectations, judgment, and self-doubt. The external noise from the world distracts us, and we are kept caged in by the fear that floods our society from all angles.

We forget what makes us happy, how to let go of all the thoughts in our heads and have fun. We have forgotten how to squeal with joy.

We sit, switch on the TV, and wait to be distracted. Time disappears and all we have achieved is a Netflix binge—every night and every weekend. We glance out the window and mutter the words “I am bored.”

Surely, if we can glance outdoors, then we can step outdoors into an adventure.

How about a walk or bike ride with no destination in mind?

When was the last time you had a curious childhood-inspired adventure?

Where did it all go wrong? Where did our imaginations disappear to?

In the United Kingdom, once we hit the age of 16 (some a little earlier), we are introduced to a world of alcohol and partying. At 18, we begin to enter the bar scene.

Weekends were stolen with binge drinking and cradling hangovers. We arrive in our 30s and want to change, and maybe reduce the alcohol.

We would like to slow down the partying (and those hangovers), but we don’t know what we would do with all the time.

Have we have forgotten what hobbies are and how to have adventures? Maybe we feel they are only for kids.

We can ask ourselves a few questions to ignite some joy that we may have lost along the way:

What did you love to do as a kid?

What makes you really smile?

What are your strengths and what are you good at?

What would you like to learn (or try) if you weren’t scared of failing?

If you had 24 hours in a day to spend doing anything, how would you spend them?

What do you do when you aren’t seeking distractions to pass the time?

Here are some fun things to pass the time:

Sit in silence and remind yourself of a holiday, trip, or event that made you happy. Replay the experience through your memories, photos, or videos.

Play an old-fashioned board game. What was your favorite as a child?

Wild swimming

Pool swimming

Paddleboarding

Sit with a cup of tea and read a book

Listen to a podcast while taking a walk

Freewheel down a hill on a bike ride

Hike a mountain

Paint a photo you have taken

Write a short story

Canoe

Cloud gaze

Dance around your bedroom to your favorite playlist

Make or bake a new recipe

Rollerskate

Rock climb

Attend a dance or fitness class

Roll down a hill while squealing

Learn a new skill, instrument, or language

Salsa dance

Get on a swing in a park and see how high you can kick those legs

The list is endless. Hopefully, this has triggered some joyful activities to schedule for your next weekend.

Remember, we have the choice to bring our own joy into our lives.

There is no reason for us to be bored.

 

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

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