Learning How to Play

I want my next stage of life to be “more play and less work” which means having a strong understanding of how my Leisure / Hobby Life Domain will come to life.

Recall I’ve written about 7 Life Domains in thinking thru retirement transition.  When I created my life vision using these domains, initially the Leisure/Hobby life domain was almost empty.  My preretirement life was 90% work focused!  What exactly is leisure?  What hobbies could I begin to develop?  It’s a bit frightening to realize that at age 50+ I have no idea how to play!  Part of me needs to overcome the strong Protestant Work Ethic I was raised on – working hard is practically part of my DNA! Taking time to play was just not something I’ve really ever done. So I needed to learn how to play.

In true researcher fashion, I have done a deep review of what is Leisure, Hobby, and Play.  Leisure (play) is a wide area and is not independent of activities that would fit in other Life Domains, like Health & Wellbeing. I have also found that leisure is about “doing” – whether that is passive doing (reading, eating, watching) or active doing (walking, swimming).

Here are some of the categories that can be considered Leisure/Play with some examples (not an all-encompassing list and yes, one activity can hit a few categories).  Leisure can be:

  • Creative Expression – Personal Artistry: writing, painting, making music, dance, jewelry making, crafting, cooking, etc.
  • Physical Activity – Exercise & Beyond: walking, biking, hiking, SUP, tennis, Zumba, golf, dance lessons, running, cardio work out, strength training, martial arts, etc.
  • Intellectual Stimulation – Learning New Things/Skills: chess, birding, cooking class, architecture, new language, study mysticism, astronomy, learn to swim, learn to sail, OLLI, etc.
  • Social Interaction: book club, bible study, dining out, happy hour, team sports, etc.
  • Solitary Relaxation: yoga, journaling, reading, crosswords, coloring books, meditation, gardening, etc.
  • Spectator Appreciation: art gallery walks, theater, following sports, craft shows, movies, etc.
  • Travel Experiences: stay-cation activities, big trip travel planning, vocation vacation, RoadScholar, etc.

I found this exercise quite helpful!  While this approach might feel a bit absurd to many, I really did need to learn what leisure was.

As I think about my Life Plan to fulfill my vision of less work-more play, I am consciously building in time on many of these leisure activities/pursuits.  I am choosing ones that fit my vision of living an active lifestyle, as well as my passive interest areas of observing art and playing with words.  In some of these leisure activities I am very much a beginner; in some I am experimenting with the activity – “trying it on”.  I am finding a lot of enjoyment in learning how to play!

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