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Are You Having Fun Yet? The Lost Art of Play


Image by lizasperling via Flickr

  The Lost Art of Play:
Are You Having Fun Yet?

I am 33 years old.  I have spent nearly a decade on Wall Street, two years starting a fund and volunteering as a Mounted Patrol Officer in Wyoming,  and I am currently enjoying my second year in San Francisco. I have proven that I can hack it in the toughest of professional and social environments. I read voraciously, DVR Charlie Rose daily, and need my Sunday New York Times, but it recently ocurred to me that these activities had become so routine and feel like a part of my life’s carefully planned choreography.  I was doing just about everything while focusing on the next rung on the ladder.  I had forgotten how to “play”.

What is “play”? My definition: to explore or engage in an activity with enjoyment as the sole objective, or doing something for sheer pleasure rather than factoring in the potential learning quotient, monetary gain or the intellectual value the activity provides.  Sure,  the desire to master, achieve fame & fortune and tackle new goals may result from playing, but it’s NOT play if we seek out those outcomes. I set out to relearn the art of play and to have fun for the sake of having fun.

  • I doodle. Using my sublime set of 36 dual-tipped Copic markers and a massive pad of inexpensive newsprint, I draw swirls, polka dots, whatever comes to mind. I post the doodles on Flickr.com and received an handful of offers to purchase my doodles, but they are not for sale. Instead I give them to friends or use them as wrapping paper. You can see one of my doodles in the photo above.
  • I take pictures: I bought a point and shoot camera, and I take photos of whatever draws my attention, without any criteria or purpose. I began posting the pictures on Flickr and found others’ examples as inspiration that even the mundane can be fun to photograph.  You can check out my Flickr feed here: Flickr
  • I Tweet, Friendfeed, check-in, follow & engage online & offline: I am an an active participant on multiple social media networks, and have made a point to take my online friendships offline.  Somehow I have managed to make great friends who I would otherwise never know had I been hesitant to engage in these online networks.
  • I Whuffaoke: Yes, that’s me in the Whuffaoke or Bust track jacket, singing without a care in the world.


(I produced Whuffaoke.com, which is an entire post, if not a book, in itself. I will just say that being a part of Tech Karaoke and Whuffaoke is the single activity that you can enjoy without any skills.)

  • I blog: I do not publish as much as I would like, but when I do a post it is because I want to, not because I have to, and I don’t worry about who, if anyone, will read it. Wordpress
  • I code (?!): In an effort to learn HTML, I am using a website targeting 10 yr. olds,(www.Neopets.com) My interest in blogging and technology, lead to exploring WordPress, Posterous,  Blogspot and the integrations of tools and widgets like Zemanta, Disqus et al.  While incorporating some of these tools into my blog is easy, others have forced me to look at the underlying code. After breaking many templates, it is fun to finally understand the components of a new language.

The big question: am I having fun? Yes!  Of course, learning or relearning anything takes time, and many activities are an acquired taste that require patience before the enjoyment kicks in.  Many people have been playing since the day they are born, some do little more than play, but there are also those of us who forget the basics as we transition into adulthood.Don’t let any more time pass without asking yourself these questions: Do you know how to play? What do you consider play? As always, I want to hear your thoughts, so please join the conversation.

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  1. August 22, 2009 at 1:40 pm

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