The Case For Play As Adults

| June 1, 2015 | 8 Comments
Photo by Brent Steinberg

Photo by Brent Steinberg

“You’re really good at the balance exercises. Did you take dance lessons as a kid?” someone asked me at the end of Pilates class one day.

“Well, thank you.” (I am great at balancing in difficult positions!) But wait a second!

No, I didn’t dance as a kid. (I was terribly uncoordinated.) I do dance as a grownup, though.

Many lucky little girls take dance, gymnastics, or music lessons. And many lucky little girls also play soccer, swim in lakes and oceans, ride bikes, and swing tennis rackets or softball bats. Many lucky little girls build forts in the woods and mix mud pies in the backyard. Many play tag on the playground with the boys, and many pretend they’re superheroes and make “vvvrrrooooom vvvrrrooooom” sounds while squealing their Barbie cars around their bedrooms. Many lucky little girls wear dresses on the monkey bars and scuff up their patent leather shoes on the basketball court.

And then many of these lucky little girls ditch their dance sessions for extra study periods, use their musical abilities in the marching band and then put their instruments away for life, give away their dolls’ sporty cars, grow out of their bikes, and leave their tennis rackets at home when they leave for college. Many of these lucky little girls eventually learn to keep their clothes in pristine condition and only dip their toes into the water—so as not to mess up their hair with seawater. These girls remember with fondness their time in the neighborhood woods, on their bikes, and steering snazzy toy Jeeps or convertibles. But not many seek out new woods, buy a new bike, or follow the curves of new roads in a fast car.

There’s no telling why some of us do continue riding bikes, tromping through forests, using our bodies for exercise and expression, and exploring the sports we tried as kids but couldn’t fully appreciate then. No matter why, those of us who do are lucky—very lucky—women.

So I want to congratulate every one of you who is keeping your youthful spirit young—strong, healthy, alive—and to encourage you to question those who think that maintaining an active and creative lifestyle is just for lucky little girls.

I also want to offer you a magazine that supports the case for play as adults. May it motivate you to invite more women in your life to join you in the woods, on your bike, and in your travels. May it be a mirror in which you can see what a lucky person you are to have recognized what your soul needs, what your body wants, and what you can do to give them those things. May it be the nudge you needed to respond to your girlish desire to take yourself less seriously—to play.

Photo by Brent Steinberg

Photo by Brent Steinberg

Table Of Contents

Women’s Adventure magazine, Spring 2015 Issue

Stories to come.

Category: Articles

About the Author ()

Also called "Editor Jenn" at Women’s Adventure, Jennifer Olson learns as much from you as she hopes you learn from the magazine and this website. Playing with magnetic poetry on her refrigerator helped Jennifer develop a philosophy by which she still lives: “If you publish a cliché, go explore real inspiration." Visit me on Google+

Comments (8)

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  1. YES!!! I have been saying for years that we have to stop “acting like adults” and actually have fun and do things we enjoy! Maybe we wouldn’t have such a stressed out society if instead of sitting around drinking coffee on coffee breaks, we went outside and played four square for 15 minutes!

  2. Sarah C. Spencer says:

    Definitely touched something in me with this one, Jennifer, and I couldn’t agree more! It’s been an awesome journey for me to return to the outdoors and rediscover that spirited little girl, who has allowed me to transform into a playful adult. How fortunate I feel to be able to reconnect with my authentic self, the one who was fearless, who played in the mud and wandered off the trail, after years of feeling intense pressure to conform to a “clean and pristine” lifestyle. For some, that way can be wonderful too, but for the lucky, as you say, we get to embrace the blissful wonders of the natural world and play within it. 🙂

  3. Leigh says:

    Add “playing in the rain” to this as well! It seems adults just hate rain – yes, it can ruin your shoes, lengthen your commute, etc, etc. But sometimes, it’s just fun to go outside and get wet! I’ve been caught in many downpours while walking my dog this spring, and instead of racing inside, I start splashing in puddles!

    • Lynne N. says:

      I love the rain! I always have since I was a kid. Of course my mother didn’t like it when I came home soaked or a little dirty.
      My husband hates to get wet. Lol…go figure. And his dog is the same.
      My dog is like me. We love to play in it. And the snow too!
      If you stop playing or having fun…life becomes dull. 😉

  4. Michelle Venturella says:

    Ha ha. I’m also a lucky girl. I love to play softball. But my father did not like this. He wants me to play aerobics instead! :(. Please advise!

    • Lynne N. says:

      Play what you want to play!
      Looking back on my life, my father laughed at me when I told him I was going to go live in the mountains at the age of 18. I had it all figured out how to do all of it, even making some cash too.
      Instead of supporting me, he just laughed. That bothered me a lot. I wanted his support.
      Now looking back….I should have done it. I should have done what I wanted. Who knows where I would be now? Maybe I would have had some paid off land. Or not…but at least I wouldn’t be looking back and wondering if I should have . It eats at you.
      So go do your thing! YOU know what you want or are interested in. I raised my daughter that way too.
      Lynne N.

  5. Love reading every post of yours. They are so interesting. Keep it up!

  6. Article very interesting and very attractive

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