Every mom knows that kids learn by playing. But what about adults? Why don't our lessons ever involve play? How much are we restricting ourselves because we never let ourselves play around?
I'm not talking about the things we do for fun. I'm talking about taking an open, playful approach to the way we learn things, or even take on a new task.
For example, I'm starting to work on a big creative project. I think a lot about how I'm going to approach it. I work on it. I think some more. I deal with my anxiety about whether I can actually complete this project. I talk to my friends about it. But I never just play around with it.
Why not? I'm starting to ask myself. What horrible thing might befall said creative project if I just played around with it a bit? Made it fun to work on? Took away the weight of calling it BIG CREATIVE PROJECT and just turned it into play?
It's a scary concept, I think, because playing around means relinquishing control. If we're just messing about, then we aren't serious writers/painters/photographers, we're just goof-offs. We are opening up ourselves and our work to a certain amount of messiness. And grownups hate messes.
However, I think it's important to break free of this adult mantle that I wear around all the time. Mother. Responsible Employee (Team Player!). Writer. Making art, any kind of art, has its basis in play, a delight in the materials, the colors, the sounds, the rhythms of whatever it is you're playing with. If I can just get back into that sense of freedom around what I'm attempting, I might be able to pull it off. And I'll certainly enjoy myself a hell of a lot more.