This week I stood in front of a picturesque window soaking in the resplendent view of the lake behind my friend's cottage. There was just the right amount of sun peeking through the perfectly placed clouds to show off the thoughtfully manicured gardens framing the shore line; it was awe inspiring. Mid daydream my friend eagerly pointed out the four paws up in the air floating by us. There, basking in the sunshine was an otter showing off his ability to truly relax and take it all in.
Otters are my favorite animal; besides their sweet angelic faces and snuggle appeal, they really know how to let loose and play. They play as if their life depends on it. Their eyes twinkle with glee and they embrace good humoured mischief without a worry to how they appear to their fellow otter or other onlooking wildlife.
As I watched the delightful, cheeky, Disney like creature showing off his ability to completely relax, I found myself envious of their ability to cut loose and play at any moment. It struck me that I couldn’t remember the last time I truly played. When was the last time I laughed so intensely that I ended up in tears? The most memorable for me is about eight years ago when a fellow line dancer decided to strike a pose by tossing her leg up over her head and slapping her posterior at the same time. It was a sight to behold, and the most powerful laugh I have ever experienced… but that was over eight years ago!
When did I stop playing?
It’s not like I don’t have fun or have things that contribute to my happiness:
- I love the time I spend playing with my niece, but I’m still always looking out for her safety and protecting her at the same time.
- I can out hobby any Grandma, but that's just my creative side flexing their muscles.
- Line dancing is my jam, but am I fully letting myself go out on the dance floor? (well outside of my audible curses when I screw up!)
- I enjoy making fun of strangers in public and laughing with them about it, but that is just lighthearted kibitzing.
What I'm talking about is complete and utter abandonment, no concern for appearances and a true exhaustion from letting loose! Busting a gut! Less adult and more childlike.
Play should be for play sake, it shouldn’t be about working towards a certain goal or specific result. The action of play is the result! No room for fear, no room for holding onto a protective wall, no concern about how I look, just getting my goofy on! And that is what I am feeling the need to do, just get goofy!
The more I think about it, the more I see the benefits out weighing the costs of just busting loose:
- It brings in even more joy into life!
- It contributes to my creativity.
- It's a tension reliever.
- It allows me to feel free.
- It strengthens relationships with those I played with.
- It's both physically and mentally therapeutic.
- It helps me take myself less seriously.
And in order for me to reap these benefits I have to allow myself to cut loose, have a hearty guffaw, and release my inner child who is so anxious to be allowed out to play.
What it comes down to for me is… I otter be more like the otter.