It was a conversation with my daughter that cemented the idea that Play is what keeps our lives from spiraling into a dull, lifeless and mundane experience, filled only with the so-called important things, like study and work and finances and routine and, and, and….

I’m not for one minute suggesting that the ‘important things’ aren’t important. They are very important. They must be attended to. However, it’s Play that lifts our beings up and out of the drudge, and brings life and joy and fun.

I was in the final edit stages of The Little Book of Play, and I’d distributed around 30 copies to all sorts of people, from all sorts of walks of life, to experience it and give me feedback. My daughter’s went something like this:

Dad, I took my book to varsity with me every day. I put it on my workspace wherever I was, determined to get into it and give it a go. The truth is that I didn’t do anything in the end. I found myself focussing on my studies and the workload I had. I realised that I had allowed my life to be taken over by what I deemed as important, and allowed what I know to be truly important to take a backseat. I’m studying Occupational Therapy. I know how important Play is, and even with all that knowledge and belief, I chose work over play.


You don’t have to go too far back in human history to see how much play formed a far larger part of adult existence than it does today. There’s no doubt in my mind that modern education, social engineering and business needs and wants are responsible for the lack of Play we see in adults today. I know this, because I fight against it, rage against it each and every day. I have to force me to remember to play sometimes, and I don’t ever like that.


It’s well documented that Play has incredible upside for children, and for adults as well. Amongst many other things, you can expect the following from Playing more as an adult:

  • Keeps you feeling young and energetic
  • Relieves Stress
  • Improves Brain Function
  • Stimulates the mind and boosts creativity
  • Improves relationships and your connection to others

So why is it that we don’t, as adults, spend more time playing, when the upsides are enormous? Having met with those 30+ people, my interviews suggest that we just don’t believe that the above is true.

The connection or correlation isn’t obvious and immediate enough. Perhaps our world of quick response, fast results and immediate gratification expects that if you Play today you’ll see the results in the above tomorrow, or at least in the next week.


Sadly, in my experience, Play just doesn’t work that way. I’m sure it can from time to time, but in the main, it’s a slow and more gentle process of evolution.

I prefer to liken Play to a marathon, a long ass marathon. You can’t arrive at the start of a marathon, having done little to no training and expect to win, or even finish. You put in the hours, over months of early mornings or late evenings, and when the event arrives you trust that the hard work you put in will pay off. Speak to a runner, there are no guarantees, simply a far better probability of success.

That’s exactly the same as Play. To get results from Play you need to put in the long and hard yards. You play everyday, or as often as you can, and one day, somewhere in the future, you will begin to reap the rewards.

Your energy improves, your stress gets less, your brain seems more alert, you’re surprised by your creativity and the people around you feel closer and more connected.

Play is a journey, not a destination. Borrowing from my vegetarian mother’s mantra about an apple a day and doctors:

Playing Every Day Keeps Dullness Away