Back to the Playroom for 21st Century Midlife Women
21st-century midlife women want and need to go back to the playroom. We want to draw, color, cut and paste, fold and texturize in exploration of ourselves . We want to tell the truth about ourselves, and to know it will be received in a loving nonjudgmental way. We want to play games, by ourselves and with others, games that make us laugh, deep belly laughs, that stimulate our imagination, and that heighten our psychic powers. We want to write and receive postcards about our adventures, and greeting cards marking our unique midlife milestones. We want to be unashamedly playful, and unashamedly happy. We want to be a tough yet soft, wise yet silly, powerful yet playful. We want to use our considerable powers to first heal ourselves, and then heal our world.
For those women who just may not understand the importance of bringing play back in midlife, Leigh and I say, “It’s all in your head—your brain actually”.
In his TED talk “Play is More Than Just Fun”, Stuart Brown confirms that play is vital to brain development, intelligence and mental health, and that adults also benefit from playtime. Having fun opens up neural connections in the brain, while fully engaging in play can allow adults to lose some of their self-censoring and limiting thoughts. In “Work Hard, Play Hard” Laurie Tarkin notes that play can also lower stress levels, boost optimism and increase motivation. Leigh and I have deliberately chosen to craft the activities in this book to evoke the positive emotional states associated with child’s play. We have included lots of humour, knowing that standard advice is to open a talk or lesson with a joke because the brain and the body respond positively to laughter with chemical changes and increased breathing. Although our teachers may have given us the message that we would learn more when we were serious and quiet, neuroscience and experience tells us that we learn more when we are having fun.
Play is essential for us in Midlife. It is the common thread that runs throughout our book Just Push Play-on Midlife. This episode “playfully” explore how to incorporate a bit of play into our everyday life. What kind of play personality do you have?
The Pillar of Play
Something has changed within me Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing Too late to go back to sleep It’s time to trust my instincts Close my eyes and leap!
It’s time to try
I think I’ll try
And you can’t pull me down!
Wicked Lyrics – Defying Gravity