Older Girls (and Boys) Just Wanna Have Fun, Too



I recently read an article about the importance of avoiding burnout. The piece referred to activist burnout in particular. However, googling burnout also yields posts about work, lifestyle, and daily routine fatigue. Stress and pressure along with a drive to succeed seems to often come with a side dish of burnout.

Very few experts mentioned play in their advice. Some came close, suggesting unplugged vacations, finding a hobby, or nurturing non-work activity. But the actual words fun or play were rarely included. I think our society often sees play as frivolous and unnecessary. In recent years, there have even been movements to reduce the amount of play for our children by removing recess and intensifying early learning.

I fall on the far opposite end of this spectrum, believing that play should be at least as important to our journey as is work. I suggest harmonizing the two in a merry mix as individuals see fit. Some people love to work hard and then play hard while others prefer a blending of play in their work— and some of us are a hybrid of both styles.

For me, play means partaking of an activity that is creative, brings joy and mirth, and leaves me feeling satisfied. Whether I’ve been interacting with others or playing by myself matters not. Play can be planned or spontaneous, triggered by need or by choice. It can be intensely physical, intellectually challenging, or a bit of both. My mind definitely loves tackling a good puzzle.

My favored forms of play are cooperative because they feed my brain and my soul while inspiring me toward my best and most creative self. Competitive forms that urge competition with others tend to bring out my most viscerally combative traits. I don’t enjoy feeling mean or out for blood.

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