We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
George Bernard Shaw
Famed Irish playwright and essayist, George Bernard Shaw lived from 1856 to 1950. He generated many quotes during his long life, but the one above is my favourite. I am drawn to the quote because like most people, I don’t want to grow any older than I already am, and now that I am in my fifties, I have finally realized that when I take myself too seriously, I do not enjoy my life. On the other hand, when I am playing, I am generally happy…and when I am happy I feel healthy and amazingly, younger!
There is no law that says that adults must be serious all the time! There is no rule in civilized society that says grownups cannot be silly from time to time! There certainly is no regulation that prevents laughing anywhere, except maybe in a library, a confessional, or during a funeral. Come to think of it, modern funerals are often called celebrations of life where enjoyment and laughing are actually allowed!
Personally, I believe that celebrations of life should not be reserved for the dead. I think we should celebrate the wonder of our lives on this incredible planet every day we spend above ground. The next time you go into a business meeting, a union meeting, a parent-teacher meeting, or a meeting with a tax assessor, try smiling, laughing, or telling a joke. You will be amazed at how a lighter attitude will lift the weight of the drudgery you would usually experience during any serious event. If you let the people around you know that you are in a playful mood, they will want to join in and have some fun with you. Soon, the meeting will turn from drudgery to pleasure and it will be over before you know it. In fact if you have fun during a business meeting, a strange phenomenon often occurs…you don’t want it to end! Imagine that!
Try it at home too! Before you sit down to have a serious conversation with your wife, husband or children, think of a way to lighten up the mood. Those closest to you will appreciate your light-hearted ways more than anyone else. People who bring a smile or a laugh to others are usually considered lovable, and most folks want to be loved by their family members so take a chance and have some fun with them! The next time you need to have a discussion about the family budget, the dent in the new car, or the dreaded subject of teenage sex, do it with a smile and a laugh. You cannot make difficult situations disappear by being serious, so why not have some fun and at least try to make them less serious and therefore more acceptable.
Of course, there are times when a serious attitude is more acceptable than a light-hearted one, but try to keep them to a minimum. Remember what George Bernard Shaw said, “We grow old because we stop playing.” There is much documented medical evidence to support the concept that fun and laughter are beneficial to a healthy, long life...but just the joy and sense of well-being that you will experience is evidence enough.
Be a leader, take a chance and show others your fun side! Play every chance you get no matter how old you are. Your life will be better for it and you will find that you have more friends and even, more fans. The bonus is that you will live longer and you will thoroughly enjoy every one of those extra days!
Start playing today!
All the Best