Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Joy Diet: Play (Catch Up)

This question starteled me as I was reading "The Joy Diet" Chapter on Play: What did you do on the evening of September 11, 2001? I did not live in New York or Pennsylvania or Washington D.C., but the impact of that day was an earthquake to my equilibrium just the same. I grew up with an Air Force dad, a man who worked every day to make the world and the U.S. safer for everyone. I NEVER imagined something like the terrorist attack happening in the U.S. How arrogant of me, right? But that was from my upbringing. And when it all happened, I mourned my innocence (naivete?) just like many other Americans did.

I know that that night, I sat at home with my family and we watched the news and prayed. We sat close and ate together and kept hoping for survivors. In the days that came after, I reconnected with some friends, I reconnected with my soul. I cried every night thinking about the loss of all those lives. I reconnected with music and every evening, I would listen to music and weep. I found the "Here is New York: A Democracy of Photos" website and immersed myself in the images - trying to make some kind of sense out of things.

So, for Play, the book asked several questions and I'm not sure I have the answer to these questions...I think that is part of my problem.

1. Figure out what your career really is. The book says to think about what was really important after experiencing some kind of tragedy and to remind ourselves that our "career" consists of ways we want to change the world or experiences you want to have before your life is over. For me, after tragedy (9/11, Roby's death, my dad's death, other friends' deaths), the only really important things are the people in my life. All the other "stuff" falls by the wayside. I suppose for me, the experiences I want to have are just to have lived fully and appreciated and enjoyed the people close to me. I'd like to keep writing, but there isn't ONE thing that I haven't done that I consider the thing I have to do before I die.

2. (I jumped over several items on the list...)Be like water flowing. This is about resiliance and flowing more naturally. I think after all my experiences with Death and illness, this is something that I am focused on and moving towards. I haven't made the jump completely, but I feel like I move more towards "flowing" as I get older.

To be honest, I was kind of surprised at how un-fun play could seem in this book. I have been looking most forward to this chapter and it was kind of a flop for me. A couple of weeks ago, I think I wrote about the fact that one of the qualities I am most proud to have is the ability to play. I may be a work-a-holic, I may be too serious sometimes, but I have never lost my willingness and ability to play. I love toys and color and coloring and making art. I love to play games and I love to laugh and tell stories and be silly. Whether I find my "true career" or not, I believe that this kind of play is what saves my life. To be able to take a moment away, to enjoy being silly or blowing bubbles or using crayon shavings and wax paper to make art - those things make the non-fun stuff possible. That is what play is for me. I know that the things that are discussed in this chapter are important, but I wouldn't call them play. Just my opinion...

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