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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Chen

on learning how to play (as an adult)

Do you remember the last time you truly played, like as a kid at a playground? I bet you didn’t even realize that the last time you played at a playground would be the last time you played at a playground.

Honestly it took me months to stop working and truly enjoy my life in Mexico. And even now I still battle wanting to build an empire every other minute. In my latest episode of the Miss Amanda Chen Show Podcast Season 5: Learning How to Live, we learn how to play with Jeff Harry, a professional play expert who goes into the offices of some of the greatest places to work to teach us how to play. Yes, thats a real job!

If you feel guilty about having fun or doing literally anything that doesn’t bring you money or potential money, believe me, you are not alone with this idea. For the longest time I had to combat that guilt with a Forced Fun At The Beach Extended Vacation I imposed on myself. Sorry to break it to you, as amazing as the Instagram photos looked, I was not having fun. It took me so long to understand exactly why though, because isn't it everyone's dream to just run off to Mexico and do nothing all day? Sounds like a dream, right?

Jeff says that it is important to find yourself in a calming state, to be basically bored, as you often felt as a kid, so that you could channel the creativity within you. When you are so distracted with things to do and other priorities you have put on yourself, there is no space to reach that level of boredom, and unlock your true potential, what Gay Hendricks calls the Zone of Genius.

Play is letting go of results. Just doing something because it actually brings me joy and letting go of whether that benefits me or not.

Easier than said, right? What if you don’t even know what brings you joy? You might think something makes you happy, but does it really? I had to think long and hard about this. I realized a lot of the times things I thought that made me happy were just things that brought me validation, a feeling of achievement, of feeling less useless. But joy? I truly didn’t know what that was until I gave myself the space to play.

I really hope it doesn’t come to a point where you become as burnt out as I was. I was so lifeless I needed to take a year-long vacation to feel like myself again. In this episode, Jeff and I talk about The Great Resignation, why companies are having such a hard time retaining employees, and how a lot of that has to do with toxic work environments that don’t celebrate each individual’s weird awesomeness.

Literally, it’s that simple. Just celebrate your own weirdness, and embrace the weirdness of others. What we crave most of all that we are not getting enough of is the permission to be ourselves, and to be truly seen for who we really are. Now of course, we ended up talking for a whole hour about this so it really isn’t exactly that simple - so definitely check out the video or listen to the show to get all the juicy insight.

After this interview I got the most thoughtful response back from my new bestie Jeff and it literally brought tears to my eyes. Here is what it said:

You may or may not have realized this, but I think all the mischief you are causing and you simply doing you, is giving so many other people permission to do the same. You may never hear from them, but the impact is still there.

Sometimes you just need a friendly remind that being yourself is quietly making an impact. Because I live this life every day, it might be hard to think that I might be the only person someone knows that lives the way I do. And the fact that I exist could be just one glimmer of hope for change.

Are we having fun yet? I learned so much from this conversation, but mainly what I took away from this is that it’s not our fault that we don't know how to play. We have been looking for happiness in all the wrong places, when we ourselves are already the most fun.

Make sure to subscribe to the podcast, and if you listen all the way till the end, find out what the topic will be for next week's episode.

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