“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”-George Bernard Shaw
We were to be initiated into the “Order of the Pink Velvet Eared Greeters” and then let loose out on the streets of San Francisco with roses in hand and willing arms to embrace whomever needed or wanted a hug. Though we were part of a group with a purpose of simple heart centered connection, what we did with that was totally improvisationally ours!
Though this was over 10 years ago now it remains a precious memory that will always be with me. Yes, I am the joyful pink eared greeter in the middle. The in the moment interactions were filled with play, fun, laughter and sometimes poignancy.
It was strange at first to be encased in pink fur, but after awhile something shifted inside, and the very much alive child inside emerged. The time spent out on the busy sidewalks of this famous city became absolute free form play laced with curiosity and the desire to simply connect freely with strangers.
There are many forms of play, but one thing for certain is that it keeps us young, vibrant, healthy, resilient and engaged in life as we travel through the elder years. Psychological and scientific studies have shown that. These challenging times also beg for humor and the freedom of unrestrained play.
Each of us chooses the form of play that best suits depending on how “comfortable” we may feel in letting loose for a bit, or how we are feeling at the time. In coloring outside the lines of what and how our cultural narrative and standards dictate what an “older person” is supposed to act like..
It certainly helps to have play companions too who may be a little more on the wilder side to punch a hole in our containment. Moving from playing games and choreographed dance where rules and expectations may abound to more improvisational forms where there are no standards to meet, or a combination of both.
I am one of those fortunate beings that has consciously continued to keep that playful, curious and imaginative child inside alive and well. But whether you bring into your life more structured play, try on some improv free form play, or a combination – it is simply an integral part of passionate living and well being.