If you know me at all, you know that I’m playful. Not always a good thing—I’ll grant you that—but at least my playfulness keeps me in touch with my inner child! Given the spirit of these times—perhaps now etched into my own—some of my normally good-humored self doesn’t seem available. Maybe it’s even leached out of me?
I understand how this might have happened. Playing around—an essential part of my existence at this stage in life—depends on pleasurable social interactions, usually in physical proximity. Being in others’ presence is barely possible for me nowadays, so that source of my playfulness isn’t there. So there’s apt to be less laughter or buoyancy in my spirit.
Diminished playfulness might not be healthy for me: Solitariness leading to loneliness; seriousness leading to somberness and nervousness leading to hopelessness. The neurotransmitters of joy replaced by the biology of stress—fight/flee/freeze. None of this on my list of recommended daily mindsets!
I’d like to continue playing around, thinking how that might happen in spite of COVID-19ness and the herky-jerky qualities of our national leadership. I’m wondering whether to invent some practical jokes that are appropriate and in good taste. Maybe inserting playful bits into ZOOM conversations? I might change my reading and viewing habits to include more humorists. And I’m toying with how to use these blogs as vehicles for word play. (Note to self: Pay attention to our adult children and families, whose senses of humor still roam freely.)
Even though the national zeitgeist might not bend in the direction of Playtime for Bob, it seems worth the effort to sow playfulness—and the emotional health it makes possible—as I live a stay-at-home life.
For your sake, and mine, too!