Yesterday I decided to take the day off and go hiking. I have been wanting to go hiking for a while, and so I cleared my schedule and grabbed my dog Mocha and off we went. I have a tendency not to plan well but this trip I remembered to pack a lunch, my camera, and water for me and my dog. I also have a tendency to be pretty intense about my hike–my mission for this hike was to get away, clear my head, enjoy the scenery, take some good photos and have the afternoon to play.
However, as I started the hike, I noticed I was going at a breakneck pace, and my mind was racing…Was I going fast enough? Was I burning any calories? Did I pick a trail that was too long? What if someone saw my dog was off-leash? (illegal in this area–but I did put her on a leash whenever we walked near people!!). Fortunately, about 15 minutes in I became aware of this behavior and realized, this is my afternoon to play, this is not my afternoon to worry or get a workout or be timely. This is my afternoon to wander, to look around, to watch my dog run with abandon through the trees and smell every fabulous scent she could find. I realized I had to give myself permission to play.
At first, I was a little sad, permission to play!? I thought how sad is that I need permission?!?! But then I realized I do; I need permission to put aside my to-do list, my calendar, my workout and just play. And play I did, I jumped in streams; I checked out wooly worms; I stopped by a lake and ate my lunch; I took 100s of pictures of the beautiful changing trees, I played for four blissful hours.
So many times in our lives we plan a vacation, plan a party, plan a fun event, and we get lost in the worry. We get lost in the stress of the planning, and we miss the moment of fun. We miss the play part. To live happier we need to include the play.
So my challenge to you is to give yourself permission to play, whatever that means for you, swing on a swing, blow bubbles, laugh until your belly hurts, just play.
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