Stop And Play

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Sometimes we get to a point in our lives when we look back and realize that we are nowhere near where we once thought we would be. Maybe five or ten years ago, we dreamt of where we would be at our current age, yet in reality, our life drifted off the path somewhere along the way and we ended up somewhere else, We may have ended up on a different path, still moving forward albeit in a different direction, or we might have gotten off the path and are feeling lost and/or stuck.

If we’re feeling lost or stuck and don’t know how to move forward and find a path to get back on, it can be hard to see our friends who seem to have found their path and who are moving forward with their lives. It may even make us feel like we’re behind. We might feel like we’ll never catch up or get to experience some of the “big life things” that many other people get to experience. Society’s views doesn’t always help either because of the general thinking that we should be here and have had these experiences/done these things by these ages or points in our lives.

The truth is that we are not all the same. We do not all move at the same pace or travel on the same paths. Some of us don’t travel on all of the conventional paths that others travel on. And the reality is that, while we may want to have certain experiences and reach certain goals and dreams, there are no guarantees that we’ll get to have all of the big things we want. It can be hard to accept and harder to learn to be okay with the possibility of not having certain life experiences, especially if they’re ones that most people get to have. Yet, we must to learn to accept that it may not happen for us, while still trying to cling to a small thread of hope that there’s a chance that it could happen for us someday.

Not everything is in our control. Not all of our questions can be answered. We need to learn to let go of what we thought our life would be like and learn to take each day as it comes. We need to try not to worry so much about the bigger stuff and our futures (which is sometimes much easier said than done, especially if anxiety and/or depression are present) and instead focus on the smaller, simpler things. When a lot of us were kids, we weren’t always worried or focused on where we would be in X amount of weeks, months or years. Yet as the years went by and we grew, thinking and dwelling about the future grew as well. If we find ourselves starting to dwell on the future and feeling bad about all of the things we don’t have and have not yet experienced, we need to try to stop those negative thoughts as best as we can. We can acknowledge them and then try-even if it’s a challenge-to remind ourselves of all the good things that we do have. We can then also try to tap into our childhood selves and find something to do that we enjoy. We can try to set aside our fears and worries about the future and just play. Work on a craft project, put together a puzzle, blow bubbles, jump in rain puddles, swing on a swing-set, play with toys, read a book…anything that brings us joy, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant it is in the long run.

In the end, the small things that we enjoy are not unimportant at all. They’re a part of us and a part of our lives. They can help build us up, even a tiny bit, when we’re feeling down and can help chase the blues away for awhile. In some ways, the small things in life are more important than the big things. We just get so wrapped up in the big things that we sometimes forget to stop and enjoy the small things. As kids, we knew what activities were good for our soul. Instead of getting lost on our life’s journey, being afraid of where our path is taking us, we got lost in our creativity and imaginations; we didn’t let timelines and worries bother us as much. It’s time that we try to get back to that simplicity. Creativity and imagination are important in our lives. It’s important to try to let go of our worries as best as we can. Some days it might be easier to do and other days might be more challenging. Our worries try to bring us down and it’s up to us to try to fight them from taking control. If they do take control, we need to try to be gentle with ourselves. While they may come and go and loop around for those of us who have “sticky” thoughts, our worries will ease up again as well. Although our worrying might be automatic (because possible anxiety and depression), if we try to take small steps to work through them and find an activity to enjoy, in time, we might be able to make them pop up less frequently. While they may not ever fully go away and still might be more powerful than we would like at times, our playing, imagining and creating can try to help to keep them at bay more than they currently might be. So go out and buy a coloring book and some crayons, some sidewalk chalk, some bubbles, a puzzle, and/or get back to another activity you found joy in as a child, and go play. Let your worries pass by like the rain clouds; they may sometimes come more than we would like and are a natural part of our emotions, nevertheless they don’t stay with us constantly. Just as the rain eventually moves on and goes away to let the sun shine again, our worries will fade to allow our souls to shine.

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