Lighten up

True confessions. I haven’t felt much like playing. And I haven’t followed my own advice – that it’s important to play even when it seems counterintuitive. Life has intervened, as I like to say, so playfulness and this blog fell by the wayside. A hospitalized mother-in-law, a rejection letter, and an increase in parenting responsibilities formed a perfect trifecta to knock me off course. I’m really not a hypocrite. Just human! And the stretch of  unseasonable, below freezing temperatures didn’t help.

So, what did I do?

I defaulted to the #1, numero uno, grown-up form of recreation. Ok, yes it does involve alcohol but that is not the key ingredient! I sought out and benefited from adult conversation. I went to a party and socialized! I’ve heard it said that “kids play and adults talk.” Well, talking is sometimes my favorite adult form of play. As old as time.

Especially social talking in a group. The patter is part storytelling, part stand-up comedy, part sharing, part political discourse, part movie reviewer – a lot goes on at a party, depending on what you and your friends like to talk about. With a critical mass of six or more and almost any reason to gather, these human encounters can be elevated from chitchat to entertainment. We can take yourselves beyond commiserating, gossiping or the blah, blah, blah recall of daily events to a place where the conversational give and take becomes fun, engaging and about more than just you.

Some folks do this social stand-up or schmoozing really well. The natural born storytellers. Some of us are especially good at asking the right questions and drawing out a story or encouraging a storyteller. Some of us are just great, appreciative listeners. We can all participate. And, after a night out as a grown-up, not focusing on the mundane, I feel quite chipper (plenty of water and an ibuprofen before bed sometimes help too).

Even more playful is hanging out with buds in celebration. This is essentially why we have events like St Patty’s Day and Fourth of July. Sure, there are other historical and cultural reasons why these holidays exist, but those reasons don’t dictate why we celebrate with parades and parties. We are a social animal, and a gregarious one at that when push comes to shove. The smallest excuse to celebrate and we are there! Even introverts enjoy hanging out with their buds. Probably not on Main St around the boozy, green clad, Irish-for-a-day revelers, but probably in their own space, with music and umbrellas on their drinks (any kind). It’s good for the soul.

So, I will take my advice to heart and throw a little late-winter soiree. Just for fun. It does a body good to lighten up.


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