When I was a kid I loved legos. I mean, who didn’t? You could build according to the directions, or build a 2×8 block stack to the ceiling (which I did) or spend hours lost in space (this was the big collection in 1982).
I also loved the woods, a set of bmx trails we fashioned out of the piles of dirt from neighborhood pools, and my favorite early 80’s pastime; a chunk of plywood that I nailed two pair of broken roller skates to and covered the top with a chunk of carpet. We would spend hours dragging each other behind a too large 10 speed while towing each other behind, singing Don’t Bring me Down by ELO. It was fast, it was dangerous, and it was FREEDOM.
I long for the smell of dirt and pine needles. Of heat in the Mississippi woods. Of dirty ass puppy smellin kids rolling off a chunk of plywood at 20 mph.
Fast forward just a few short years, and I was “too grown up” for that stuff. Homework, after school sports, what passed for a middle school social life and the struggle to be cool, quashed this out for a few years…until I could do stupid things in a car.
Of late I have been struggling a little bit with the ever present “Am I doing the right things?” and “If I am setting up my businesses to run by themselves, what then should I do with any of the free time?” This is the ever present trap question of our time. Is this work good enough? Passionate enough? Meaningful enough?
On Friday, I had worked from early in the morning until about 12:00 and decided to go ride my bike for awhile. I haven’t ridden much since Ironman Boulder and this ride let me know that straight away. No snap in the legs and a heavy dose of River Road wind, and I was soon slogging along. But I was content.
What “came to me” on this ride was something simple. Something I have heard echoed in a recent post that went viral by Mark Manson about finding your “passion”. In a nutshell, when we were kids, we just did. We created, we played, we lived. Somewhere along the way, the notion of creating and playing became a luxury. Something we were to do in our free time if we weren’t “artists”. I’m calling bullshit.
What if creating IS the work we are to do? And this doesn’t mean dropping your job as an attorney to become a poet (or maybe it does). It means finding joy in creating when you can, to start out. Through writing, thinking, singing, and most importantly through PLAY.
Find an outside hobby. Maybe you like basketball. Find a pickup game again. Go run at lunch. Join an adult kickball team. Play dodgeball. Buy some legos and pull them out at your desk and let your mind escape from those TPS reports.
I am convinced that at least 75% of the “stress” in life is self created. I have a friend that immediately freaks out about “what will I do with the kids?” or “I can’t do that, how will (insert inane work duty here) get done?” These are important responsibilities to consider for sure, but this conversation was about an event that was over a YEAR AWAY! Chill the fuck out! I am not turning your kids free range and leaving a box of pop tarts and some smokes for them and heading out for an adventure. Quit using “No we can’t because…” as your go to response. This is the road to self inflicted misery.
I 100% guarantee that your work will improve if you take time to create or play every day. If it were me telling you how to do this, I would say do it first thing in the morning to start off charged, or during lunch to hit “reset”, ready to tackle the second half of the day. But if midnight’s when you have time. Make that time.
Iff your boss walks in and wonders why you are building a Lego Batman set, tell him it’s so you will be better, and maybe ask he or she to join you.
We all know if those TPS reports get pushed back 5 mins that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENS.
Start playing. Starting living larger.