When was the last time you set aside your work, your freelancing, and your responsibilities entirely simply to have fun? Do you remember what it is like to just play and enjoy yourself? It is very easy as a freelancer to get so involved in the game industry with our work, time spent on social networks discussing gaming, following gaming blogs and podcasts, and communicating with publishers, that we can sometimes forget why we were so passionate about getting involved in game design. Periodically, we need to set everything aside for a while and remember the joy of play.
“Play provides the emotional spark which activates our attention, problem solving and behavior response systems so we gain the skills necessary for cooperation, co-creativity, altruism and understanding.” Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head by Carla Hannaford
I will be transparent here. These past few weeks have been very stressful as a freelancer. I have had quite a few projects with tight timelines, a project that has some serious issues, and I am getting a bit overwhelmed with all the final preparations for the Modiphius booth at Gen Con (which I am managing this year). This was a lot of work with little to fun. Add to that my day job, family responsibilities, and some recent caregiver challenges, and I was on edge. My mind was fuzzy, and I was a bit of a grump. My wife can attest to that.
Then this long 4th of July holiday weekend arrived as a wonderful impromptu blessing. A Canadian friend and I made some rather last minute plans to have a serious weekend of gaming and relaxing with our families. Both of our families could use the break with things happening in our lives. So he, his wife, and daughter packed up their car and made the journey through the border and to our home. We then spent Thursday night through Monday morning playing a pile of games, some old favorites, some new to one of us, and others we purchased just for this weekend. We sprinkled in lots of laughter, a little thrift shopping, grilling, fireworks, and a picnic for good measure.
As I write this blog Monday morning (sorry I am posting late), I can emphatically state that I am physically exhausted but emotionally rejuvenated. My mind and spirit feel so clean this morning. The conscious decision to let work and responsibilities pause for a long weekend to focus on friends and play for an extended weekend were the healing I needed. Not only do I feel stronger emotionally, but this weekend was a great reminder of what it is about games that makes me so passionate to help create them.
“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter and the spirit heals with joy.” – Proverb
How do you heal your mind and spirit? Do you occasionally choose to pause life’s responsibilities to play like a kid again?