Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Art of Playfulness



I have a celebrity crush.

Hmmmm, gotta admit, I haven't had one of those since high school. When I think about it, I have always had a crush on someone (real or imagined) or something. Never have I been without an infatuation of some kind.


 

I'm not sure if that is normal or not, but there you go.


 
So, as there is no one real in my life at the moment, I have this 'thing' for the character Wade Kinsella (played by Wilson Bethel) from the show Hart of Dixie. To quote a friend on Pinterest  "Wilson Bethel : Making it less embarrassing to watch Hart of Dixie since 2011"
 

I blame my friend Simone entirely.
 

This summer I had three weeks to myself while the kids were away, and she loaned me series one and two of the show. I have had a bit of a Wade-fest - and loved every minute (embarrassing though it is to have a celebrity crush......so adolescent!)
 

As I am no longer an adolescent, and as we all know, an overthinker, I considered what it is about this character that is so appealing. Everyone describes him as the 'bad boy' of the show, but I honestly think that is a ludicrous description. Bad boy's are pushing illegal drugs on street corners, pimping out women, and generally appear on shows like CSI. Just because someone drives a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS, plays guitar and is very popular with the chicks does not make them a bad boy. No, it makes them boyish and playful.
 

Wade is playful.
 

And he is hooked on one girl, although playful with many while she rebuffs him.
 

That is what is attractive about Wade. (And a killer smile might also help - we'll avoid all the shirtless discussions for this article!)
 

Playfulness.
 

It is a beautiful, appealing commodity in a person.
 

I have always been drawn to playful, cheeky, funny people. The class clowns. The guys who will have a dance at a party. Who do (good) impersonations and theatricals. The dude in my high school graphics class who would play air guitar in front of me. The guy who tipped a carton of milk over his head when someone stole his lunch from the lunchroom AGAIN. The boss who dresses up as the Christmas Poo to distribute the Kris Kringle work gifts. The team leader who doesn't take life too seriously and makes the workplace a delight.
 

What a gift people like that are to the world.


As an eldest child, I am a bit - no, a LOT - of a people pleaser. An over achiever. A bit wound up. What I need  in life is to be more playful, and a partner who encourages and helps me to be so.
 

So, while I currently have no one to help me do that, I need to invest in playfulness myself. Would you believe it is actually something of an effort at the moment?
 

An effort to play - what on earth is that all about?
 

Yet I figure that if I experience difficulty - thanks to the stresses and responsibilities of life - then I must not be the only one on the planet caught in the trap.
 

As a Leo, I know playfulness actually does reside within me, and certainly in my early carefree 20's I loved to play, I just need some guidance back into that heart of myself these days.

 
So, here are some motivational ideas for ways I (and YOU!) can play and have fun. Do I need to explain why its necessary to play? Mental health, physical health, emotional health, attractiveness of people who do - four great reasons to get started and have fun now!
 

Ways to be a playful family:
 

1.     Have a board game night every week or fortnight or month. By turning off the TV and interacting playfully you get a big playfulness boost.

 

2.     Be spontaneous and suggest going out for ice cream/pancakes/cheesecake after dinner one evening

 

3.      Get crafty together and have a Mr Maker night – get out your piles of paper, magazines, fabric, glue and sparkles and just create something to represent what you have experienced in your day. If you’re a really enthusiastic parent you could provide certificates for “most creative”, “most colourful”, “most insightful”, “most uplifting” artwork – make sure everyone gets a certificate though  - competitive families are very unattractive. Oh, and make sure everyone helps clean up!

 

4.      Go bike riding, swimming, or for a hit of tennis together

 

5.      Get word magnets for your fridge and create playful sentences

 

6.    Hold an at home trip to the movies complete with tickets, popcorn and make up some crazy pre screening movie trailers and adverts.

 

7.      Have an indoor picnic on a rainy day

 

8.      Get a pet – animals work wonders for making life more loose and playful

 

9.      Join local dance lessons as a family

 

10.   Check out this great blog for more playful family ideas: The Playful Parents 

 
Ways to make your town playful:


1.      Organise a street party

 

2.      Soften your footpaths with fun murals, interactive art, sensory plants, a chalk board that invites comment about a particular topic (see ideas at Candy Chang )  etc

 

3.      Join a flashmob or create a flashmob in your town

 

4.      Funk up your bus stops – think yarn bombing, pop up parks, murals etc

 

5.    Start a neighbourhood ‘summer camp’ or creative kids market in the school holidays (think lemonade stands, toffee stall, child run portrait drawing studio)

 

6.      Install playful public seating

 

7.    Play music in your main street – encourage buskers (students from the local   high school) or evocative music on loudspeaker at certain times of day

 

8.      Hold a town pool ‘dive in movie night’ over summer

 

9.      Put up silly thought bubbles round your town

 

10.   Bake cup cakes to hand out randomly to strangers in the street

 

11.   Fix crumbling infrastructure with Lego

 

12.   Hang a swing randomly anywhere

 

13.   Transform a set of stairs into a piano

 

14. Get some great ideas for keeping the spark and vibrance in your town from the ‘Keep Austin Weird’ campaign and festival in the wonderfully creative city of Austin USA (See Keep Austin Weird Fest) Weirdness is wonderful people and is what makes the world more delightful to be in!

 
Ways to be playful with your partner:

 

1.      Go skinny dipping or night swimming

 

2.      Create your own, ahem, home movie

 

3.    Be bold enough to suggest something different in the bedroom – from role play and dress ups to incorporating food and props. Don’t be boring, people!

 

4.    Act like a child and play games – play adult twister, strip ‘go fish’, have a pillow fight, play hide and seek, throw some jelly in a wading pool – look in your board games cupboard and if there is a way to make any game more ‘adult’ then do so !

 

5.      Have a black tie dinner for two (at home) and wear nothing but black ties (or a hostess apron if you are serving )

 

6.      Lounge in bed together all day long – without feeling guilty about chores and errands

 

7.      Dance provocatively for your partner

 

8.      Send salacious text messages to each other

 

9.    Use lots of playful touch – brushing her hair while you watch tv at night, giving him a foot rub in return etc

 

10.  Flirt in public. Eye winks, playful pinches on the behind, cheeky whispers

 

11. Join latin, burlesque or pole dancing classes

 

12. Invest in some playfulness tools such as the book '10,000 ways to say I Love You' or the board game 'Monogamy'

 

As I said, I am a Leo, and - dare I say it - we are renowned as great lovers - generous, flamboyant, full of fun. So, digging deep, I plan on getting my playfulness back in motion this year, in every way I can.....

 

I'll just playfully leave you with that thought.

 
 

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