Play has been an integral part of my life. From playing games to just goofing off I have found that play is important and I have put some intentional effort into making sure play is a component of my life as an adult. I find it interesting that as adult it takes effort. When I look to my children it seems to be very natural.
As a new father I am still fascinated at how much enjoyment my sons get from everyday activities. Last night was the first time one of my sons walked into the bathroom and pointed at the tub and looked up at me with an expectant face. He wanted to play in the water. He needed some bath time. He really wanted to splash. It took a few minutes and he was 100% engaged in play and laughter ensued.
In comparison, after moving to the UK and transitioning into student life again I wanted to take advantage of my new surroundings and my wife pointed at the town of Bath and said it would be an excellent Christmas Market to explore this holiday season. We rented a car.
I practiced driving in the UK for one day. The next day we loaded the car up with two kids, two car seats, two Pak’N’Plays, a double stroller, a diaper bag, & a suitcase. Once the car was loaded we drove for 3 hours to get to Bath.
After checking in to the hotel we had roughly 4 hours in the market on the evening that we arrived and another 2 hours in the market the next morning. It was a lot of time, energy, and effort so that we could have a few hours of play. It is fascinating to me that my boys could point at something so ordinary as a bath and in a few moments be in rolling laughter while as an adult it takes planning to organize an event of play.
While the effort was high the value for me was tremendous. When I get a chance to play it feels like a chance to reset my sense of balance. I spent the first few weeks of my PhD program in a heads down effort. I have read, submitted an application to a doctoral consortium, read, proposed a book chapter, read, contributed to a symposium proposal for a conference, read, and volunteered to do a book review. The six hours of play I had over two days provided such a relief from the pressure I put on myself in my program.
It is interesting to me that my boys can play by using a bath and I choose to play by looking at a bath that was used so many years ago.