Play: [noun] 2. exercise or activity for amusement or recreation

Found this great article on the Huffington Post about the “key to happiness” that I thought was worth sharing:

It’s a vision problem that no laser surgery can cure, a hyperopia that keeps us from seeing the central source of happiness right next to us. That problem is called adulthood. Those who are afflicted with this condition have trouble focusing on nearby objects of amusement and the realm that delivers the most enjoyment per square inch: play. Adults are oblivious to what they knew as kids — that play is where you live.

Grownups aren’t supposed to play. We have problems. We’re too busy. We have important things to do. It turns out, though, that there are few things more important to your happiness than frequent doses of play. As a study led by Princeton researcher Alan Krueger found, of all the things on the planet, we’re at our happiest when we’re involved in engaging leisure activities. Why not do more of that?

The article goes on the say we live in a culture obsessed with getting results from everything we do. The end justifies the means. And play doesn’t really bring measurable results.

What we don’t realize, though, is that it’s precisely the lack of a quantifiable result that allows play to tap a more meaningful place that satisfies core needs and reveals the authentic person behind the masks of job and society….

Studies show that play reflects more of who you are than your work. When you’re engaged in activities of “personal expressiveness,” ones that are self-chosen and that reflect intrinsic goals, you’re operating from the “true self,” says Alan Waterman of the College of New Jersey….Play brings you back to life — your life.

When a 40-year-old goes headfirst down a water slide, that person is not 40 anymore. A few decades have been knocked off, because something inside has come alive again. It should be pretty obvious that the animating spark of play is the fast track to happiness.

Definitely makes you think about your life. When was the last time you laughed so hard it hurt? (Ok, so mine was a few posts back at the spa). I hardly consider myself an “adult” and think I still do a good deal of “playing” thanks to many fun spirited friends, a boyfriend who’s “almost” 30 going on 3, and a dog who refuses to accept “go lie down” as an answer. But I think this article gives us all something to think about now, and moving forward.

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