down to play

do you ever wonder why grown ups can't play as freely and fully as children can?

defining dtp or down to play is easy: play any game with anyone, anytime, any place.

the key being willingness.

attitude is everything

we often hear older people talking about how young they feel and how that's enough to override the idiosyncrasies of aging.

it's likely true to a great extent especially when it's never really challenged by an individual far younger. when i say challenge i'm referring to an invitation to play.

the willingness to play is put to the test when you actually enter the playground and get down to play. here's where the game gets interesting.

what game are we talking about? have you played this game all your life or is it your first time? is it a single player or multiplayer game? does it involve extended gameplay or will it be over in minutes? are the players hostile or friendly, snarky or supportive? are you confident of victory or comfortable losing?

ability is everything else

when these questions start echoing noisily in your mind, you know your ability does not match your attitude. now this is why grown ups are not really down to play (even when they say they are). why bet the reputation you spent years building on fool's gambit?

children are always smiling and bounce back effortlessly from setbacks. take for example learning to walk. they fall hundred times a day while trying to walk. not frustration, no loss of face, no dejection. just constancy and consistent attempts.

so i'm not just talking about your ability to play. i'm referring to your ability to enter the playground, experience the game, engage the players, explore the moment, endure defeat, exult in victory, and evolve effortlessly.

sounds like a handful but it's actually easier done than said. we have all done this as infants in the crib, as kids in the sandbox, as children in the playground, and teens on the streets.

if there's any ability we need to revive today, it's malleability.

the ability to be easily changed into a new shape and the quality of being easily influenced, trained, or controlled.

fountain of fun

whether you associate the teen negatively with naïveté or positively with neuroplasticity, what matters more is that you find, retrain and retain this key ability.

being down to play is the essence of your fountain of youth. you've soaked in that delightful energy as a child and you can jump back into those waters today.

defining dtp or down to play is easy: play any game with anyone, anytime, any place.

start with the antithesis of this definition and outline what kind of game you want to play, with whom, when and where.

start with that, and add incremental challenges or sudden surprises to spice up your experience of play. maybe you'll engage with hostile players, maybe you try a game that scares you, maybe you'll play outside your regular playground.

careful that you don't scare yourself into never playing again. the idea is to establish a solid base of minimum viable play before you explore and expand the edges of your playground.

it's crucial to understand what constitutes safety and danger for each individual since one person's comfort zone could be another's red line. as you progress in your chosen game or activity, continuously update your personal limits and assess the level of risk you're willing to take.

it's never too late to play, it's always the right time to play. say yes to any invitation to play and jump in unhesitatingly. once you're in, figure out your way to play without sacrificing sustainability. after all we're here to play the long game until the end.