Make time to play.

Nowadays, people seem to be in a constant competition over who’s busier, who has the most meetings, appointments, social obligations… We’re in a constant rush and we never have enough time for anything. Why do we feel the need to compete over who has the most packed agenda? Why do we thrive on living busy lives?

When we were younger we used to have time for everything. Personally, I went to school, had dance class, did homework and still had time left to talk on the phone with my friends and play a bit of video games. Even when I was in college, I would hang out with my friends almost daily.

I am aware that as we grow older we inevitably have more responsibilities. We work, have a partner or spouse, have families, kids… we must excercise, make time for our friends… We have the same 24 hours as we used to, yet our obligations increase. Given all that, I still believe we mustn’t forget the importance of taking a break, taking time to take a breather. Taking a moment to enjoy life rather than rush through it.

Nowadays, I feel there are fewer people who make time in their schedule to do things simply because they enjoy them: go to that paint class, practice an old sport, join your neighborhoood films club, sign up for that course you’ve been meaning to get into, take up a new hobby.

There’s something about the people that do find the time for these activities that seem like a breath of fresh air amongst all the chaos. When you talk to them, they’re somehow more at peace than the rest of us.

This year, I decided I wanted to make time as well. So, I did a little experiment: I made a list of all the activities I used to enjoy doing and have stopped doing them. Life got in the way and I forgot about them. This year, I would try and find the time for them again.

Being concious of this, I realized that I do have time where I have nothing to do. These moments usually appear in chunks of 20 minutes. They still do exist, we just need to take advantage of them. Since I wasn’t aware of activities I would rather be doing, I would end up spending those 20 minutes on the easiest activities of them all: watching TV or scrolling my phone.

Now, everytime I am aware of a night coming up where I have nothing planned to do, I review my list and ask myself, “Out of these activities, which one will I like to do now?”

Most of the times, our spare time will only appear in 20minute intervals. We might think this is not enough time to do anything, but this is where we’re wrong. If we leave everything ready for the activity to take place, we will most likely do it.

I find that if I have a jigsaw puzzle set up on the dining room table I can easily work on it any time I have a few minutes. There’s no reason to think I can only work on it if I have a whole afternoon off. I realize that with those few minutes, I get recharged and feel a boost of happiness to keep me going.

Try it, you’ll see. Even if it’s just for a few minutes. Those little burst of happiness will add up.

I challenge you to at least start with your list. I’m sure once you put pen to paper and start to recall all those activities or hobbies you used to have, you’ll want to start finding time for them as soon as possible.

Here’s my list. Some I’ve spent more time on than others, but all of them have been brining some kind of joy to my life. .

  • Working on Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Playing Nintendo/XBOB/Playstation
  • Playing The Sims or Civilization on the PC
  • Practicing Handwriting/Calligraphy
  • Working on Crosswords and Logic Problems
  • Coloring in Adult Coloring Books

I would love to know what you come up.

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