Today, I sit on the shores of South Lake Tahoe blogging on the beach. I have been in this same spot probably close to a thousand times over the last 13 of 25 years that I have lived here. I am not at the spot where most people come to hang out in Tahoe as there are numerous rocks that hide under the water in this particular spot that create a painful experience for the feet and rarely do I enter the water here. I come here to capture the sense of play but not necessarily directly for me. This is spot that my beautiful golden retriever Roxie loves.
Roxie is not your typical golden retriever. She is very loving but maintains a very independent spirit. She protects us but she doesn’t not coddle us or demand our undivided attention. She has stood loyally by me as I raised my four daughters, refusing to leave their sides when we were on hiking adventures or when they were out front playing. She has celebrated my joys, my laughter, my heartbreak and my tears and always in that steadfast way that dogs know how to understand and listen better than any human.
What she has taught me more than anything is the immense joy and importance of play in our lives. One part I forgot to mention that makes Roxie special is that she is a rock diver. I think there are a few dogs out there that have this talent as well, but she has entertained more than one passerby on the beaches of Tahoe. She fully immerses her body, retrieves often very large rocks (or maybe roxs), and digs around them to make a rock garden on the beach. She’s part Rox-a-potamus. She’s a joy and a delight and has provided more happiness in our lives than we have probably given her.
The one gift she has given me is the continual reminder of getting out to “go play”. I tell her this every time we go to the beach and she waits for me to throw a rock. Even deep into almost her fourteenth year of life, she turns into a puppy every time we head to the shores of the lake. Her bad back, hips, liver and thyroid issues seem to magically disappear when she gallops off to find the latest addition to her rock garden. Even when I feel tired and overwhelmed, she will look at me with those big brown eyes to remind me it’s time to take off for our lake adventures. I have watched her with awe and admiration so many times as she reminds of the importance of playing and finding joy in the simple things in life.
I am driven and hardworking. Sometimes I forget how important it is to get out and go play in creating balance in our lives. Give yourself permission to enjoy life, build gardens, run, swim, enjoy the sun…whatever it is that creates your bliss. As discussed in this article from Forbes, we often are obsessed with being busy to establish our value which ends up resulting in burnout. As discussed by Brene Brown and Stuart Brown, play provides a space for innovation and creativity and has a different meaning to each of us. Not every moment in our lives needs to be productive. It is ok to give yourself permission to spend time engaging in activities that do not have purpose and is critical to our human development. It is the enjoyment of goofing off.
To create the time for the unstructured in our structured lives, we can even schedule time to play. This time needs to be sacred to who you are and enjoyed without constraints, guilt, or fretting over your next task. Be intentional about the need to create this place in your life. Don’t be afraid to dive for rocks and just go play.
How do you get out and “go play”? What are the reminders that you have for yourself? Please share!!