DO something? Like what? 16 is much too old to PLAY. Serious adult matters concerned us-riding with a newly licensed driver in their new-parent-bought car, and detangling the latest drama.
My immature introvert self was not confident enough in herself to realize what she really enjoyed doing. I felt most alive and happy and confident and learned the most about myself when I was playing. Outside. Hiking a cliff. Biking a trail. Water fight with friends. Rock climbing and repelling. White water rafting. Float trips. But I didn't pursue those activities…being a teenager is weird. I didn't really know what I liked to do. I felt weird about the things I liked to do. I think.
I wrote off camping and hiking for most of my life because I was forced into going when all my friends would be in a basement watching a movie (I was missing out on so much!) and I HATE PACKING. (This strange turn of events where I love camping and took Sis on a girls only trip this summer makes my parents laugh and also wonder what happened to me. I don't think they should be too surprised though-I have always been adventurous.)
But now that I'm grown I don't care so much if people think I'm weird for reading as many books as I do, or that I just REALLY love to be outside…I'm learning to play!
Not that I didn't play before. It's just a new era of playing.
I could say 'having kids is teaching me to play again!' but that sounds cliche…and not exactly true.
Yesterday we met up with friends and played all day. We ran a 10k, the posse ran a mile, it was pouring rain, we ate lunch, we swam hard (floating around the lazy river and hiking all the stairs to the huge water slide take so much energy) There was no other agenda…we just played!
I hiked with two friends last week. Into the mountains with the aspens changing colors. We heard elk bugle-one of the most magical sounds, we saw elk, we hiked off trail to find a better view of said elk…there was no other agenda...we just played!
Before moving here I thought there was nothing in Wyoming. Literally nothing. And while that's sort of true-it is also not at all. It would be easy to look at our little town and write us off saying 'nothing to do. two restaurants. one screen theatre with uncomfortable chairs. no night life.' But you would be missing the world class rock climbing. The mountain biking, the trail running, the hiking, the cross country skiing, the hunting, the camping, the boating, the snowshoeing, the fishing, the being outside watching a river rush past you with wildflowers all around…all within a 20 minute drive.
I'm learning to play. I'm learning I like to play. I'm learning playing is a lifelong skill. I'm learning playing is what bonds people together…the people I care about most are the ones I've played hardest with (which also means we have probably been through hard things together too)
And my kind of playing doesn't have to look like your kind playing and we don't need to feel guilty about playing.
And, adults listen, I think we should call it that-call it playing when it is in fact playing! We are allowed that. So much else of the adult life is hard...