My palms were sweaty as I carefully looked over the evidence. A crime had been committed, heinous- and it was up to me to convey exactly what had happened. My heart beat faster and faster as I realized it was my turn to share what I felt had occurred that night. I looked at my kids who sat quietly beside me trembling in fear. “Okay, it was Mrs. Scarlett, with the lead pipe, in the library.” Paris looked at her evidence and discreetly showed me the lead pipe. Darn! That was not the weapon used. It was Noah’s turn…we were in a heated game of Clue.
When I was a girl, games were a favorite past time. I remember going to my cousin’s and playing them for hours on end…Life, Monopoly, and of course Clue- my favorite! We would throw on pajamas, spread the board games out on the floor, and play until the wee hours of the night. Our screams and laughter would ripple through the house as we assumed the lead or in the case of Monopoly- were sent to jail!
Clearly this is powerful memory because tears are dripping down my cheeks as I write. For a moment I’m there again- in my jammies, reliving those moments and how special they were- Time with cousins, playing games, being a girl and having fun. Yet I have to confess something really embarrassing– I’ve let years of my life go by without playing a single board game. Worse yet, I have kids!
It’s not that we don’t play games in our home but the truth is that I oftentimes just sit and watch as my husband and the kids or Uncle Adam and the kids play games. I’m too busy in the background making dinner, cleaning up the kitchen or doing laundry- so I watch from the sidelines.
In truth, on any of these occasions I could have stopped and jumped in the game. Players always call to me, “Come on Traci, sit down with us and play!” Yet each time I have every damn excuse in the world. Yet the real excuse, the one I didn’t see until recently is that I don’t know how to sit down! I’m in constant motion, like one of those poor Polar Bears in Alaska who drowns because all the ice has melted and they can’t find a solid piece to rest on while hunting. Like the bears, I find myself drowning- but by choice.
So as part of my Power of Play Blog Series I made a decision to play. I didn’t explain to anyone what I was doing, I just dug down inside myself and asked my girl to help me- you know, the one who laughed so hard she would pee her pants, who lived to play with her Barbies and couldn’t wait to run out the back door when at my cousins and pick juicy Concorde grapes off the vine and devour them by the dozens (I buy them every season in honor of this memory)!
The good news is I’m no longer drowning. I gave myself a lifeline- through play! It’s changed my life. Last week I wrote my blog about playing dodge ball and if you didn’t read it, you have to now, it’s so fun! I’ve realized that no one can save me but me! Multi-tasking all day, every day and dropping into bed exhausted each night is not how I want to live my life. At the age of 44 my life is half over (quality) and I’m determined to squeeze every ounce of juice out of it that I can.
So here I am- each day I wake up and rather than grab my phone and check email (while anxiety starts to set in), I think, “What fun is on the agenda today?” Yes I still have two companies to run, a household to maintain and kids to care for (and an amazing husband to spend time with) but I’ve re-prioritized my life, put things in perspective and am giving myself permission to play!
I know it may sound crazy and seem impossible to even consider how you can do this in your life, but you can! Here are simple ideas to get you started- when you make breakfast consider making a pot of tea and having a tea party with your kids or OMG by yourself! Yes, you will feel so proper and British…and remember doing this as a girl! Before going to bed at night step outside, lay a blanket on the ground and just look up at the stars. As you lay there you will drift into a place of wonder, perhaps see a shooting star to wish upon and begin to ask yourself those age old questions…”Is there anyone else out there?” And let yourself ask these questions! Were you so political when you were a girl?
Okay so you get the point. Play. Play. Play. Play! Take each ordinary day and start to make it extraordinary. With each passing day you will get more creative, find more possibility and joy in things you can do to enlighten your life and the lives of those around you. So, here is my wish for you this week. Get your favorite board games out and play them! If you have kids they will be so excited and if you have girlfriends they will be all over it because it’s been far too long for them as well (you will be a hero). In fact, why not have a slumber party? It’s time to stop thinking so much and just do it- have fun!
I love, love, love to hear from you so please post here on my blog (below the post) what your favorite game was when you were a girl or your experiences as you pull that game out again and relive those childhood moments. If you never did play games in your home then it’s time to try something new! Give yourself the gift of a new game. Keep the game out on your kitchen table or in the open where you see it daily- this will encourage you to play more often. As you play, you will become childlike again and the thoughts of bills, work and that never ending to do list will subside as you experience true joy, connection and laughter with the people across the board.
Written by Traci Bild Founder of the Get Your Girl Back Movement- Putting the Power of Play Back in the Gam ( www.GYGB.com)