Play is For Children AND Adults

Recently a fellow coach was talking about living her purpose through her current work, how passionate she was about her mission, the hours and commitment that it required.  She said, “I work and work doing what I love until I hit a brick wall.”  She thrust her hand against the wall for emphasis.  

“What about play,” I asked.  

“Play?” she responded, “What’s that?”

Wow!  In our quest to live passionate, or at least busy lives, earning a living and raising families, has the “me” generation forgot how to play?

The question also came up in the recent Retirement Life Matters Workshop.  What is play?  More specifically, what is adult play?  The person who asked the question wanted specific examples of adult play.  I’m not sure one activity can be identified as a universal example of play.  Or can it?  Is there something we all engage that could be considered play to everyone all the time.  Please forgive me, but my first response to that question was making love.  But, I’m pretty sure we couldn’t make a universal statement that making love is always play.

What is play?  

Brainstorming, the participants in the workshop decided play was fun.  The activity allows you to be childlike.  There is a sense of timelessness, with no agendas.  Play is a state of being as much as an activity you engage where there is a lack of judgments and resistance.  

Playing is important because it reduced stress, promotes better sleep, and improves the mind, body and spirit.

There seems to also be a level of spontaneity with play.  Engaging in the activity is more important than the end result.  While there may be rules or structure, the actual activity allows for a sense of unfolding.  Play is active, not passive.  Play is a hands-on.  Play is fun and experiential.  There is an element of creativity in play.  It doesn’t require a creative outcome, as much as creativity in the process.  

As boomers consider life beyond work, I pose the following question. Is all play all the time a valid and reasonable retirement goal or should it be balanced against other activities, hobbies or interests?  Can you create a retirement that is active, vital and contributing as well as playful?  In other words, can you have it all?   Most important, when was the last time you cast your cares to the wind and played?

A healthy retirement lifestyle should be a blend of adult play, volunteer opportunities, and creating a family legacy.   That’s the retirement best for today.


About Cathy Severson

Cathy Severson helps baby boomers find more meaning and purpose in their lives and work. Get your copy of her complimentary e-book Guide to Retirement Activities a comprehensive look at work, volunteering and leisure based on an individuals’ personalities. Call for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to answer your most pressing concern. 928.775.4949 or email Cathy at

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