The Payoffs of Play

After working into the late evening for three days, a little voice begged me yesterday not just to take a break, but to go play.  Of course, I tried to negotiate.  I had jobs to apply for and projects to finish, but perhaps I could at least grab some lunch.  Over the course of the morning, however, the voice grew louder until the choice became inevitable.

My trusted laptop slowed to an excruciating crawl.  I couldn’t work on my files, and even my Yahoo e-mail wouldn’t load.  I rebooted my computer twice, but as far as I could tell, nothing was wrong with it.  When Internet Explorer closed on me for a third time, I finally got the message.  This type of thing seems to happen to me regularly.  When I fail to heed the voice of my inner self—or my inner child—the universe steps in, taking the decision out of my hands.  The key these days is that I actually let it. 

With the decision out of my control, I became excited about playing hooky.  I drove to an organic restaurant.  But after putting my name on the list, I realized that I wasn’t taking myself out for a “ladies lunch.”  I was on a play-date.  And my inner child did NOT want to eat vegan lasagna or something equally strange (and let’s face it, usually awful). 

I took my name off the waiting list, and then went to California Pizza Kitchen, where I had a salad—and a fried appetizer.  The environment was fun and friendly, much better than my stuffy original choice.  I took my time eating.  And I wrote a bit.  Then I shopped for nothing in particular.  I had chosen not to be responsible, which frankly felt a little devious.  It also felt light and fun—and free. 

These days, I can take only so much seriousness before I simply need to lighten up.  I suppose that’s because for so many years, I stubbornly refused to do just that.  But through experience—and many mistakes, I have learned that the payoffs of playing are huge. 

Everything just seems to work better when I allow myself these little breaks—when I have fun.  Creativity flows; people call; and synchronicity abounds.  Today, my laptop is humming along beautifully.  Time and again, the universe rewards me a hundred-fold simply for choosing not to take myself too seriously.

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