Everyone needs their playground

And the courage to find it

Photo by nrd

Adult life can be difficult. So many responsibilities thrown our way, so much to do day to day. But how do you still manage to carve out your own play space? But more than that, what is your playground in the first place?

I used to think a “playground” would be a particular room, a desk space, or even a cafe. Stephen King had his laundry room, Dani Shapiro has her library.

What I’ve discovered is that as an adult, my playground is not exactly a room, but rather an activity that helps my heart to grow. It’s where I can connect most with the me who I feel most comfortable being, the me who’s happiest when I have time to create and make.

Wherever I am — whether on a plane, in a train, or in the office — I can activate this safe sense of play just by focusing on what I love to do.

As kids, we were lucky. Kindergarten was etched into our school schedule, and when the bell rang we ran out to play. Now, we must remember to ring that bell ourselves.

But how? Some of us are fortunate and have some parts of our work where we can experiment and play. For example, I love iterating through different design concepts or coming up with research questions— these activities create a sense of play for me. If you love your job, I bet you can find an activity within your role that allows you this sense of fun.

If you can’t find time or space to play in your work life, then carve in playtime in the early mornings, evenings, or on weekends. Whatever brings you joy, whether that’s knitting or painting or dancing or whatever — designate time for play. Don’t give up on the child within you, full of wonder and excitement for discovery.

It’s easy to lose sense of this playground. So much in the world is vying for our attention, our time. It’s almost as if there’s a conspiracy against allowing adults to activate their hearts by doing an activity that gives them a sense of playfulness.

But there’s no conspiracy. You have the responsibility to the child within you to be bold and find your own playtime and space. To build in that sounding bell from kindergarten into your adult life schedule, to have the resolve to make time for play.

As kids we ran out of school to the merry-go-round or jungle gym. We ran to feel and express joy. I encourage you to find and run towards that playground of your very own making, where your heart can grow once again.


Thanks for reading! If you’re ever in Zürich, let’s get coffee. ☕️ 😎