All work and no play makes you an also-ran in the game of life. And a boring FA.
"Hope I die before I get old," declare the Who in their classic rock anthem "My Generation." What really makes us "old" -- our chronological age, or our attitude? ("I'm TOO OLD for that sort of thing," etc.) My favorite quote on staying young is by philosopher Oliver Wendell Holmes: "We don't stop playing because we get old ... we get old because we stop playing." And "Da Coach" here is not about to stop playing.
I'm writing these words as I sip an iced coffee outside on a picture perfect summer Tuesday morning. This is after a 30-minute bike ride en route to my office. Now how many of YOU are saying, "Gee -- I'd love to ride MY bike to the office, BUT ..." and kill the possibility before it even has a chance to grow. WHAT IF -- let's just say -- you could bring a change of clothes in a backpack, that you could put your toiletries in the pack, that there was a health club with a shower nearby, that you'd have a blast riding by all the cars stuck in rush hour traffic ... "NAH -- better not ... what would people think? After all, I'M MIDDLE AGED."
I submit it's not that you COULDN'T ride your bike -- you just WOULDN'T because you think it would be "undignified." Well, I'm now past 60 -- summer's here and the time is right for riding in the street. I loved it when I was 10 years old, and it's no different five decades later.
So what are some things you can do to get some "play" into your life? Here's a few examples I regularly engage in:
Team sports There's nothing I like better than takin' it to the hoop with a group of guys at the "Y" -- we're out there runnin', gunnin', jumpin', bumpin', sweatin' on each other and talkin' all kinds of middle-aged trash ... a phenomenal work out. (I'm currently on "injured reserve," rehabbing my right hip and right knee. I think my "40 Year/40,000 Pick-up Game Warrantee" expired on both of those body parts ...)
Swimming Most of the year I'm doing indoor pool laps, but when July and August come, I LOVE jumping into Lake Michigan! The water is always refreshingly invigorating. (A well kept secret: My hometown Chicago is a GREAT beach town.)
Biking I'm a wimp when it's cold out, but between April and October you'll find me cruising on my bicycle along Chicago's lakefront bike path. Got my helmet on, got a sideview mirror to check people gaining on me and my iPod blasting some Grateful Dead show from the '70's -- hey now!
Cooking No matter what kind of day I've had, my wife and I usually prepare a simple dinner from scratch. It really doesn't take that long, and the process of chopping up ingredients, mixing them together in a pan while adding seasonings and serving them up puts me in a state of relaxed concentration. And the results beat the heck out of a microwave frozen dinner.
Fandom As a Chicago sports fan, I'm cheering year 'round for my teams Da Cubs, Da Bears and Da Bulls. There's no better way to let out pent up aggressions than at the old ball game. My teams may not always win, but as a "die-hard" Cub fan, I keep on showing up. (C'mon -- ANYBODY can have a bad century ...)
Music I learned to play guitar by mastering a few simple chords and then playing along with Beatles, Stones and Grateful Dead records -- I always imagined I was playing in the band. I have some musical associates -- we get together every so often to have a jam session to blow off steam. (No -- you don't want to hear me sing, and I won't quit my day job ...)
Dogs My wife and I are dog lovers, and think our dog is a highly evolved being -- who else can give such unconditional love? And our dog is ALWAYS up for playing, even if it's just a game of ball toss around the house.
Outings About once a month I go out with some buddies for drinks, dinner and perhaps a music or sporting event. Since one of the gang is an Italian-American, we call this our "Goomba night" -- a night on the town to have some good clean fun. My philosophy is, "Everything in moderation, INCLUDING moderation." (Thank you Oscar Wilde!)
I hope I've inspired you to add a little fun into your life today, and everyday. In order to live a great life, play like a champion -- it will renew your spirit, help you release stress and make you more interesting to your prospects and clients.