March 4, 2015
“You can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why
STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin
My mom had a playful spirit. She knew how to press play on the boom box of life. This is because she could find something fun in just about anything. Some of her most playful moments were when she’d launch into song, often when we were on a road trip. Consider that she couldn’t carry a tune. She knew it, Dad knew it, and we four kids knew it. But it didn’t stop her. One of her favorites to sing was “Playmate,” a big hit in 1894 and still loved today. She would half sing and half laugh her way through it.
Hey, hey, oh playmate,
Come out and play with me.
You’ll bring your dollies three,
Climb up my apple tree.
Cry down my rain barrel,
Slide down my cellar door.
And we’ll be jolly friends
It occurred to me recently that I am blessed with many soul friends and noble friends. But who are my jolly friends? They are the ones with whom I want to do silly things. To get into mischief. To play make believe. To laugh until we nearly pee in our pants.
I spent some time yesterday with a jolly friend. She had me howling with laughter as she described some of the crazy fun things she did when her sons were little. Imagine pretend ice skating in pudding, on the kitchen floor. Or making mud pies in the backyard with mom until all were covered in mud. Or covering the Christmas tree with as many candy canes as possible just to surprise one of the brothers.
We both wondered when we stopped pushing the play button for ourselves. Yes, we can be playful and have fun. But when do we really play like little children do?
Thus began a dialogue around what it would be like to have adult play dates. This kind of fun is not reliant on alcohol, food or money. This kind of play is reliant on imagination and action. The body must be engaged. The senses titillated. The mind and heart open. Adult play dates rely on people who long for the rush of endorphins that comes with play. For those who would like to transform constant frowning into an hour or two of smiling.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to…,” said aloud, launched some outrageously fun ideas. Out of my mouth came, “Let’s learn how to twerk!” We hit the cosmic play button and enjoyed moments of outrageous laughter at the very idea. Not sure what twerking is? Check out this short video.
Golden Sisters Twerk like Miley (1:48)
These women know how to play! Would you agree?
Research undertaken at The Strong® suggests that there are six basic elements involved when we play—anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength, and poise. (The Strong® is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play, located in Rochester, New York.)
If we use learning to twerk as an example, here’s how it might play out for me:
Anticipation: The idea of it triggers a naughty grin.
Surprise: It might be easier than I thought.
Pleasure: Laughter will permeate the experience.
Understanding: Learning something that is totally new to me.
Strength: Must be good for core muscles.
Poise: Delicious mixture of adult and child like fun.
All six elements of play become activated if, and only if, I push the play button. That means I open my mind. I engage my imagination. I enroll my body. Why wait for a twerking class? What if, once a day, I push play on the cosmic boom box of life? I wonder how many jolly new friends I will make.