How much time do you have for play in your life?

Play time (1). Here we are about two thirds through the year and we are just now discussing play time. I suppose it is because I grew up with the Aesop story about the ants and the grasshopper. Most of us have heard that story but I think about it every single day. It is been etched not only into my mind but into the very fabric of my existence. “You must get your work done before you can play.” Later in life, I learned about the three boxes of life and discovered that if I was creative enough; I could integrate work, play and learning. I have tried to integrate that model in both my teaching and my consulting. Sometimes, I am successful but more often I am not. Nevertheless, I keep working on it and trying to make it a constant reality. On most days though, my mind keeps repeating the “you must get your work done first.”

Karen is very different, she can play and play and not feel guilty. When I play before I work, my guilt becomes overwhelming and feelings of some impending disaster are ever present. I suppose I think I will be left out in the cold (like the grasshopper) with nothing to eat. I once asked a group of gold-miners whom I was training what it would be like if they could integrate work, play and learning. I am not sure what I was expecting for answers but I was stunned by the following comment from one of the miners: “Well, it would be like there was no difference between Monday and Saturday.” Imagine, I could not have come up with a better description. We would not be able to tell the difference between the days of the week, because they would no longer have the same meaning to us. Life would be like Saturday all the time.

What is your conception of work and play and learning? Do you think they can be integrated? Are your Saturdays different from Mondays? What would it take to integrate them in your life?

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