Students often ask me, “Cam, this class is all great and fun, playing zombies and passing around imaginary balls, but how do you apply this in the real world? The world outside this class that seems to hate when people have fun and just wants everyone to ‘Get back to work!’” And I say, “If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked that, and I do, because I charge a nickel every time, so I know how much…before I forget, you owe me a nickel.” “Now?” “Yes, now. Anyway, what was I saying?”
Then I ramble on about how to bring the concept of being in the moment, and allowing yourself to make mistakes, and taking care of others into their lives. And then they stop me and say, “That’s all great, but how do I play?”
And then it sinks in: How do you play?
So for my sake and yours, I’ve come up with a hundred ways to play. Simple things you can do to have fun in the “real” world. K, let’s do this!
I’ve set the task of thinking of a hundred ways to play, and I’m going to lump all sports together in one?! Yes.
Mainly because it’s obvious, and while I do want to cover all the bases (haha solid baseball reference, though I’ve never heard it used during a game), I want this list to be about stretching my mind and yours into new and less thought about ways to play.
So yes, get out there and throw a Frisbee, play softball, tennis, nerf stuff, Aussie rules football…whatever. I made a group called Funemployed just to find people to play with.
If you find yourself getting competitive and efforting, try holding a beer in one hand. That usually classes any sport down by a peg. Oh man, now I wanna play tennis while holding a beer. Here I come country club! “Oh, I’m sorry, is it the beer and belligerent yelling? It’s not? My shoes are the wrong colour? That is bad.”
Am I about to call living things a toy for human amusement? Ummm, sort of. I know pets are also about love and companionship and connection, but let’s not forget how stupid they are. We don’t watch cat videos because they’re being loving companions. I mean, some of them are. Especially when it’s a cat loving a dog, or a goat. The point is, I’m going to go watch cat videos!
3) Cat videos!
Is this deserving of its own number on the list? Hell yeah. If you’re ever feeling down, go watch some cat videos. Those little guys are hilarious. And if you’re not ready for the responsibility and upkeep of an actual living thing, you get to enjoy the fun without all the litter box stuff. If you’re laughing, I’ll count that as play.
I’m talking sitting down with a pile of Lego and just having a field day with it. Yep, sit in a field with Lego. Or at home. They also work at home. Yo! Yo! You tried yo-yos? Ah man, walk that dog. (Literally walking a dog, also a form of play.) Or build a dog out of Play-Doh and walk that. If you don’t have any toys, walk yourself to a toy store and try stuff out and wreck that place. A toy store needs to know you’ve been there. Find something fun and fun it all the way home.
I know exercise is not a “fun” word, but I’m talking about skipping, mini-trampoline, swimming, cartwheels, anything you find fun. I know we’re supposed to exercise to stay healthy, but if that exercise is boring, you’re less likely to do it.
Walk somewhere beautiful and scenic, dance badly in the park, put a full-size trampoline in your backyard and do some Olympic shit on it. If you’re gonna work out, you might as well play out. (Drops skip rope like a microphone.)
6) Colouring books!
Colouring books, they’re so hot right now, colouring books. I’ve even heard the term “adult” colouring books. Which either means there’s sexy stuff in it, or that’s how much permission adults need to allow themselves to play like kids. “Are you colouring?! “Yes, but as you can see, it’s a colouring book for adults, so you can’t judge me for being too childlike and fun.” Bonus points if you colour outside the lines. Gauntlet thrown!
Some of us naturally enjoy cooking. Others do it just for sustenance, and so don’t want to put too much effort into it. So how do you cook without it feeling like effort? Cook for fun! Try new ingredients, try new recipes, basically do the show Chopped in your own kitchen. Get four ingredients that don’t seem to go together, then create one dish that combines them all. In conclusion, watch Chopped. Great show.
8) Board games!
Back when I was too scared to leave the house, I’d play Monopoly by myself. I didn’t play the actual game, I’d roll the dice and just race the pieces around the track. Car and boot were my faves. Couldn’t wrap my head around how cannon would win. Turns out board games can also be played with others. So try that, too.
Invite a friend to a board game cafe, or bust out Cards Against Humanity at your next family function. Maybe. You know what, lemme think on that one.
9) Fart sounds!
Try out different forms of fart sounds. Blow on your forearm, or into the bottoms of your hands, or the side of one hand, or with your armpits, or just with your mouth, or hell, fart for real on cue. Nothing gets a laugh like a good braaaaafffpppt.
Make paper airplanes. Always crumple it up and basketball shoot it into the recycle bin. Origami that shit! I can make a dove. I tried a frog once, too.