While riding my bike with my son recently an older gentlemen sighed and remarked to me, “Oh to be Young,” while he watched my son doing jumps on his bike in front of us. I smiled and then rode off behind my son jumping the same gutter with a massive cheeky grin on my face thinking, “indeed it is fun to be young”.
I have a friend who likes to describe his age as ageless. This sounds great but I actually love my age. My forty-two years are filled with experience, lessons, pain, wonder and joy. I wouldn’t trade a single minute, wrinkle, tear or moment of pure joy with anything. I am the main character of my life, the hero of my story and each moment, experience and year has shaped me and will continue to shape the person I am. As much as I love my age I actually rarely consider it or feel fear about ageing. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that my late husbands life only lasted 40 years, so I see ageing as a gift that he never experienced. I do believe in having an ageless heart and know that I am here to contribute to the happiness and well-being of myself and others.
In her book Dying to Be Me, the author Anita Moorjani explains that after her near-death experience — in which she literally was pronounced dead of terminal cancer — her insight was that we are here to enjoy life. With this in mind I want to be ageless when it comes to fun and making a place for play, spontaneity and fun in my life.
As Abraham Lincoln said with such foresight:
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
In this hectic fast paced world it is so easy to be serious and forget the childlike behaviour inside all of us. Why should playing and having fun be over? I think we should all have fun and remind ourselves of the simple, childish pleasures of life. I think we should never let the innocent, excitable part of ourselves die. Forget feeling self-conscious and concerned about how you’ll look. I find the beauty of being this age is that I no longer really care.
I have serious responsibilities just like everyone else but why not sit down and make a list of the things that you enjoyed doing as a kid. Then pick the things that still sound appealing. I like to ask myself – How can I bring more magic and joy into my life today? This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, it is just a matter of finding what makes your heart sing. In order for you to achieve your goal of having more fun, schedule it.
Even though I am finally happily single (it has taken me a while to get here believe me) I think the idea of having a play-date with your romantic partner a very cool idea – I will save some of my more creative and fun ideas for future use!
Even though we are all enjoying watching elite athletes at the Rio Olympic Games don’t forget that there is lots of fun to be had right at your door step. Why not befriend a fun person or plan a fun activity with your friends. Combine it with exercise if it appeals to you, play a team sport. Competitiveness scares me a little so try and keep the games light and fun. If the activity gets too competitive and winning and losing is the main objective, it’s not play. Playing with your romantic partner, friends, co-workers, pets and children can fuel your emotional well-being.
Here is a little sneak look at some of the items on my list
- Colour-in and express myself artistically
- Feel the exhilaration of riding my jet ski
- Play board games with my children
- Ride my bike and enjoy the wind in my hair.
- Throw a frisbee
- Smile at a stranger
- Jump in the ocean and ride the waves on my body board
- Walk in the sunshine
- Play with my dog ‘Happy’
- Read a brilliant book while relaxing in my hammock
- Laugh – watch a comedy, share jokes with my children and laugh uncontrollably with my friends.
- Dance – wild and free. Something magical happens when music and movement come together. It’s an explosion of joy
- Light candles and take a long, warm bubble bath
- Flirt outrageously
- Go on a road trip
- Try something new – be daring
- Live fearlessly
Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, intimacy and trust with others. These fun activities are also part of my own self-care routine to nurture myself.
In the words of George Bernard Shaw,
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”.
We all know that life is like a roller-coaster with many ups and downs but sometimes you have to raise your hands up, scream and just enjoy the thrill of the ride. Figuring out what makes my heart sing is another great way to get to know myself a little better. It is all about surrendering and doing the things that light you up inside and relentlessly seeking out joy, beauty and love in the everyday.
Let the games begin!