“The child in me is delighted, the adult in me is skeptical.”
– Saul Bellow, upon receiving the 1976 Nobel Prize for literature.
Too many people today are excessively busy and have no time for play. Our everyday life can be overloaded with work and problems. Some joyful, imaginative playtime is necessary to counteract this strain, plus playing can also be cathartic. However busy a person might be, introducing some whimsy and impracticality into their lives, can invigorate the near-dormant creative and playful aspects of themselves.
It is unnecessary always to be realistic, especially when there are times when we would rather create fantastical universes in our heads and re-experience the playful imagination of our childhood. It’s not necessary to be serious all the time; banter and joyfulness is a tonic for fortitude and self-reinvention.
For those involved in artistic expression and production, creative playtime is often part of their everyday lives. They do not feel any guilt about their frequent levity because playing – and being in that heady flow, is part of their daily work lives. How fortunate they are to be working and playing at the same time during their creative process!
Creativity should be present in your life too, even if your everyday work is dull or gloomy. It is necessary to ensure you make some time to escape into play. The richness of fantasy and daydreaming, an essential ingredient of creativity, should always be within beckoning distance. That ability to daydream and to fantasize is an important adaptive skill and one that we all should enjoy. Imaginative exploration and playfulness are not only essential for people who create, but also for all who want to lead balanced lives.
The playfulness of childhood needs to continue into your adult life because the ability to daydream, prepares you for the changes that will occur in your life. Mental exploration, humor – and creativity, should be ongoing processes throughout life. Creativity is ageless but the seeds of creativity that were simply there and resilient when you were a child, needs to be watered and nourished more frequently now.
Unfortunately, demands from others – and yourself – interfere with restorative playtime. Critical expectations and the idea that work should not be fun, cause us to become severed from the joyful aspects of our childhood and lose the freshness of the vision we once had – and the receptivity.
The ability to combine an adult perspective with a childlike vision can lead to creative work that is fresh, energetic and original. It is essential for those who create, and for those who yearn to – and for those who have no desire to – to keep nurturing their imaginations and not to let everyday distractions dampen that valuable resource of levity within them. While, of course, the adult in you will behave responsibly, the child in you should make the time to create and to play.
To learn more about creativity, read my book, Have You Ever Had a Hunch? The Importance of Creative Thinking.