The word “play” is derived from the Old English term “plegan” meaning to dance, to leap for joy, to rejoice, and to be glad. The other term it comes from “plega” means to exercise or occupy oneself, to busy oneself.
Often times, play involves both exercising and rejoicing, occupying ourselves while being glad. So we know what play is, but why do we do it? And how do we do it?
First, the why. Do we play to rid ourselves of excess energy? Do we play to learn new roles (like girls playing house or boys playing Tonka trucks? Do we play to relieve mental fatigue? To get our bodies to relax? To have an outlet (when angry, frustrated, etc.)? Do we play to arouse endorphins and adrenaline? To get caught in the moment? To learn life lessons (endurance, teamwork, etc.)?
Perhaps, it’s a combination of all of them. Or perhaps it depends on the circumstance or activity.
For me, most of these reasons have come into play at some point in time. In the course of life, I’m sure I’ve played for every one of those reasons, and I’m sure you have too. But I’m curious about the how. How do we play?
I play in odd ball ways. I write. I read. I organize. These are play activities for my soul. When the weather is nice, I bike and play softball. All these activities bring freedom; I’m good at them; I’m motivated as a result of doing them; and they positively impact me. So what about you?
What do you do to play, to exercise or occupy yourself in a rejoicing and leap-for-joy-kind-of-way?