Playing – it’s not just for kids

4 Jun

Sometimes I sit back and realise just how bloody lucky I am.

The last time this happened was last week, when I was chatting to a lady in the shop. She wanted to buy something for her grand-daughter, and decided on a craft kit.

I love making things with her! We always get on really well and have a lovely time

I asked her whether she had any hobbies herself. She was about 50-ish, maybe older if she had a grandchild, so I was surprised and delighted that she said she’d just treated herself to a new smartphone. She told me how she hadn’t realised how good the camera would be, and showed me some photos she’d taken. She clearly had a good eye, and she said she’d really enjoyed herself that weekend.

This was clearly someone who got a lot out of being creative and playful. She ended up buying one kit, because she said although she liked the other one she had her eye on, she didn’t think her grandaughter would be able to manage it. I suggested she just got it herself anyway, and made it one evening – I hasten to add I wasn’t trying to upsell, it was only a quid. Her response saddened me

I’d feel silly doing it alone

I hear this every day, and it still upsets me every time.

I spent five years neglecting being creative, and it ended up nearly killing me. I’m not saying I’m a standard person, but nor I am that unusual. I’ve written before about playing, but I need to write more and more and MORE about how playing is a lifesaver, why everyone should be doing it, and how important it is.

Absolutely everyone must (and I mean must, not should) do something every day which makes them happy – otherwise what the hell is the point of being alive?

(I hasten to add that in this post, and everything I write, I am of course mindful that some people don’t have the luxury of being able to do what they want when they want to, like people living in extreme poverty, people in abusive relationships with partners or carers, and so on. But for the sake of this blog, let’s assume I’m talking to the 99% of the population who have choices about what they do or don’t do.)

I get so absolutely, mind-blowingly passionate about this, that it drives my husband a bit mad. My best mood comes at about 7.30 in the evening onwards, and that’s when I often can’t hold in how I feel about certain things, whether it’s how amazing ‘Dexter’ is, how beautiful my cat is, or how much I love making badges – it’s also usually when I end up getting upset and frustrated because not everyone is being creative every day.

This isn’t even hyperbole – I cried the other week when someone told me they couldn’t draw. Everyone can draw – it might not be very good, but the action of drawing is putting an implement onto a surface, and everyone can do it.

People are often impressed by my husband because he can paint holding a brush in his mouth, as in the actual action of him doing it, as well as the paintings being damn good – but all it took was practice. He didn’t immediately know what he was doing, and anyone starting to draw won’t either. It’s only practice at anything that makes you better at it. I mean, I have the ability to walk, I know how it’s done, but I’m not a professional speedwalker – people who are have just practised and trained, and they do it better than me. So, I wouldn’t dream of saying ‘oh I wish I could walk’ because that’s ridiculous.

Similarly anyone else who paints with their mouth, or indeed their feet, didn’t just pick up a paintbrush in their mouth or foot and paint an amazing picture – but the difference is they kept at it until it became easier, until they got better. Just like that speedwalker kept on training and becoming fitter and faster until they won races.

So practice fitting in creativity into your timetable – I’ll be writing more about excuses not to do it and how I won’t accept them another day, but for now, find a blank surface and an implement, and draw something RIGHT NOW. I promise you, now I’ve guilted you into it by talking about people painting with their feet, it’ll seem so easy you’ll never think you can’t do it again.

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One Response to “Playing – it’s not just for kids”

  1. Marie 04/06/2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Great post Chloe! You’re inspiring x

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