After a busy working week, I just wanted to ‘do my own thing’ so I went for a walk and was then going to plan my day around what was on my to do list. I wanted to potter about the house tidying things up as well as sit in the garden reading a book that I’d bought. Just the thought of asking anyone else what they wanted to do made me feel stressed because everyone usually wants to do something different and then I end up trying to please everyone.
My youngest (almost 15) had a different idea and announced that she wanted us all to play board games together. I really didn’t feel in the mood to play games so I said ‘maybe later’. She looked sad about that and walked out the room. I felt bad.
How a book I was listening to changed my mind there and then
I was listening to Essentialism by Greg McKeown and bizarrely the very next thing he was talking about was how important play is for creativity, creating memories and how ‘the essentialist knows that play is essential… and sparks exploration’. You can probably guess that the whole point of me listening to the book was to learn the benefits of being an essentialist.
“Is it any wonder that often times that we feel most alive, and those that make up our best memories, are moments of play”Essentialism by Greg McKeown
I knew what I had to do next. I went to speak to my daughter and found her lying on her bed looking a bit fed up. I said ‘if I moved all the clutter that’s in front of the games cupboard can you help me choose a few games to play?’
She was a bit hesitant at first, knowing that I’m not one for playing games, but I assured her that I was being serious. The clutter that I’d moved into the centre of the study did leave me a little anxious but I soon forgot that as the four of us spent the next three hours playing Cluedo and Telestrations (the latter being the most fun). This family time opened us up to many conversations whilst we were playing and no one really checked their phones or the time of day. The drawing part of the second game definitely de-stressed me.
Later on when I went back to listening to the Essentialism book, Greg McKeown said the very moment his children feel stressed he gets them to draw. He said that the change is immediate and “the stress melts away and their ability to explore is regained”
Afterwards the girls and I discussed how we could fit ‘playing games’ into our lives more often, but also allow us to have time to do other things. We are going to try and allocate Saturdays for ‘play’.
I treated the girls to McDonalds after that which they appreciated and when I got home I found myself with some time to potter about.
How I used my potter time
Putting the games back in the cupboard set me up on a tidying spree in the study (which made a difference to the room). I ended up sorting out some drawers and a small cupboard and then felt like doing some writing. My eldest then suggested watching a film together.
When my youngest said goodnight to me she thanked me for playing games today and getting the McDonalds and said that I could have some ‘potter time’ tomorrow if I wanted to.
Today has taught me how important family time is as well as time for myself. I haven’t done everything on my list but the book I’m listening to has also taught me that maybe some of those things weren’t as ‘essential’ as I thought.
Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.
Until next time…