Mojo Monday ~ When I Grow Up

When I grow up…I want to be a sheep racer, probably said no one, ever. Yet in the photo above, just look at the joy on those little girl’s faces as they race away.  Of course, my animal loving nature does have me hoping that the sheep were having just as much fun.

Can you recall as a child what you wanted to “be” when you grew up?

Quite often when you ask a child this question the response has to do with the type of job they imagine having when they are an adult, and in their limited exposure to vocations, it is often things like astronaut, fireman, teacher, actor, singer and so on.  

As we grow up, discover more about ourselves, our likes and dislikes, our preferences, our strengths and weaknesses, we are usually still being directed by our parents, our teachers, and other mentors, to figure out what we want to do for a living.  As we grow up we learn about other job possibilities and most often the statement “When I grow up” still ends in some kind of declaration regarding a career or how we think we might make a living.  

Have any of you said, or heard a child say “When I grow up I want to be happy.”?

Or how about “When I grow up I want to be whole-hearted.” or “When I grow up I want to be philanthropic.” or “When I grow up I want to be compassionate and full of grace.”?

I love the quote by John Lennon featured above, “When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘Happy.’  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

What I’ve realized in my advancing years is that while there isn’t anything wrong with figuring out what we want to do, however it doesn’t capture the whole picture or touch upon some of the more important aspects of our life journey, such as the lives we touch, the care we show for others, and the love we infuse into the lives of others.

Some people eventually figure out what makes their spirit soar and it may end of coinciding with what they do for a living.  If not, hopefully they will still find how they earn their check to be somewhat fulfilling, and in their off time they will pursue their deeper soul stirrings.  

For those still trying to figure things out, be it how to be really happy or what kind of career to pursue, recapturing the playful spirit of a child can be helpful in exploring the possibilities. In this day and age is it rare for people to stick with one career.  In fact if they are to really seek out those things that bring them joy, contentment and inner peace, they may change direction several times in their lifetime.  

Consider role playing, trying on different hats so to speak, just for fun.  

Ask yourself the question “If I could do anything I would…”

Consider this fun list in the photo to the left for inspiration.

What about becoming a rock star, cowgirl, tap dancer, gypsy, star gazer, fairy godmother, cupcake spinkler, or even wonder woman?

Now while none of these may be a way to make a living, simply pretending or trying on a new persona, could make living a lot more creative and fun.  

Consider the possibilities of what you could be when you are grown up….because whether you are 24, 34, 44, 54, 64 or 104, you still have room to grow.

Mojo Monday: Let’s Play!

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Do you remember when your days as a kid revolved around riding your bike, building forts, making playdough creations, coloring, creating storylines about Barbie and Ken as they cruised through your backyard in the pink corvette? Speaking of Ken check out this fun short video of Ken, who stars in the new Toy Story 3 movie.

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Play is fun! But play is also a whole lot more. Humans have played since earliest times, and philosophers and scholars have thought about it for centuries. More than 2,000 years ago, Plato suggested: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Play is essential for learning and human development. Play:

Sharpens our minds

Helps us grow

Keeps us healthy

Boosts our creativity

When children play, they learn to:

Solve problems

Make decisions

Express themselves and communicate with others

Recognize boundaries

Children who play do better in school and become more successful adults.

When we don’t play, we are:

Less creative and productive

More sedentary, more easily fatigued

More likely to encounter social problems and emotional stress

Play also helps us understand history and culture. The way we play shows:

Who we are

What we value

How we regard others

Change over time

Future possibilities

Play can play a role in bringing people together and even be a tool to creating peace. There is an inspiring organization called Ultimate Peace that builds bridges of friendship and understanding for youth from different social and cultural backgrounds around the world. They focus on fun and education using the exhilarating and character building sport of Ultimate Frisbee as their tool. They are raising money for Ultimate Camps in the Middle East that bring together Israeli and Palestinian youth. Here in the USA they are currently partnering with an organization called Emerald City Ultimate in Seattle, WA, in order to provide 15 free Ultimate Frisbee clinics for underserved youth, within the U.S.A., who do not have the opportunity to learn or play the game.

At the 2008 Serious Play conference, designer Tim Brown talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play. Right at the beginning he comments how adults can be self-conscious about creating and can be inhibited in expressing ideas and sharing their creations. In contrast he states that most children will happily share their art and their ideas.

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. Here is his fascinating and at times serious talk he gave at TED on how play is much more than fun.

What did you love to play as a kid? Do you have special memories of favorite toys? How do you play now as an adult?