How much of your day is spent “playing?” Really — think about it. In a world where working overtime is applauded and rushing our kids from activity to activity has become the norm, who’s got time to relax, laugh, and truly enjoy life?

One of the reasons I am writing about this subject is to remind myself of this very thing. I spend much of my day working from home. I love what I do, but I sometimes become driven and look past a game with my kids or a walk in the woods because there’s always “something I have to do.” Some days I even eat while I’m working. I have to remind myself to take breaks, read a book, play with the cats, or enjoy some music with my husband. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing those things, I just desire more balance in my life where play comes more naturally.

Honestly, sometimes when I’m working at the computer and my cats are playing with a catnip toy, I feel inspired. They remind me how easily it can be to cut loose and be completely present with something so incredibly carefree. And they create play out of anything, right? A milk jug ring becomes a batt-able little piece of magic they carry around in their mouth or even pick up with their paw. A box transforms into a secret hideaway and a drippy faucet is suddenly a toy and a tasty refreshment. I love to more regularly find simplicity and joy in the simple things. I want my own magic milk jug ring!

When can I find these moments of perfect presence and playfulness?

  • Taking a direct cue from my felines, I lie in a sunny spot on the floor and wait for one or all three of my cats to join me. For this to happen, it literally takes seconds. Together, we snuggle and play, completely forgetting about time and space.
  • To reduce distractions, I physically close my laptop when I want to shift focus and relax. I am not tempted able to jump over and take a peek at my e-mails if the computer is not open. This is a big one for me and works wonders for my ability to play.
  • Like my cats, I enjoy gazing out a window, bird-watching and daydreaming. When I am trying to meet a deadline, I call this procrastinating. When I turn off the computer and allow myself to enjoy the inner and outer view, I call this heaven.
  • I admit it. I sing to my cats. I like to make up little ditties about them, many times sung to the tune of popular songs. I especially relish this activity around the holidays, when my cats enjoyed the festive tunes, “The 12 Days of Phoebe,” “Away in a Shoe Box,” and “Cosmo, the Black-Nosed Tuxie.” It’s fun. You should try it.
  • By far, the easiest way to experience playtime is to leave my house. When housework and other obligations aren’t around, it’s much simpler to embrace simplicity. I like grabbing a favorite book and biking to a local lake. I also enjoy hiking in the woods and watching the wildlife. Silly squirrels never fail to make me laugh! The move so quickly, freeze, then zip off again. It’s such a small thing, but aren’t the simple pleasures some of the greatest ways to embrace playtime?

Once again, cats remind us to savor life and remember to balance work and play. So go ahead, grab the brass ring. But don’t forget to grab a few milk jug rings along the way.

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