Dance like nobody’s watching

There may be something to that old phrase. In fact if we’re honest most old phrases usually have a good chunky bit of wisdom attached to their origin. Not all the times, by now we all know sticks and stones break your bones and words can do just as much hard. This one however, has some good advice baked into its bones. Here’s the full quote if, like me, you’ve picked up a slice and forgotten the rest:

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,  Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.” ― William W. Purkey.

Purkey was a public school teacher turned Professor Emeritus of Counselor Education at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

He knew a thing or two.

Why is it that as we get older we become more boring? And more stressed. Actually, the two come together like fudge and tooth ache. Like beer and a hangover. Like winter and a snotty nose. I think the reason is because we forget how to play. And we down play (see what I did there) the importance of playing.

When we are young and sprightly we play all the time. If you go past a park you see loads of kids just…playing. There isn’t a reason to it and they don’t need to be taught how to do it. They don’t think about the time or the waste – they simply enjoy the moments they have with abandon. But unfortunately somewhere in the journey to adulthood we stop being intentional about having play time in our lives. We see it as unimportant and push it to the bottom of our priority list. We become stressed and boring. Don’t be that person. Be playful. Be fun.

  1. Schedule Playtime

Okay, we know, you’re an adult now with responsibilities but in between the responsibilities you can let yourself off the hook. Schedule playtime and then you won’t feel so bad about it because it is planned in your schedule. Schedule time to take the dog for a walk, put together the scrapbook you’ve always wanted to, build a lego house – I don’t know what works for you, but whatever it is, schedule and make it happen.

2. Bring back game night

So a long, long time ago before cell phones and netflix and supersport reruns there were games. Monopoly, Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit – so many. Why not bring back games night and have some fun together as a family or bunch of friends? Games forge friendships and make you laugh. They take your mind off things and are a whole lot of fun.

3. Take a toy to work

By toy I don’t mean Barbie Doll – relax! I mean bring your guitar, or a rubix cube or scribble pad – something that you find relaxing to do. Something which can take your mind off work for a bit and help you to unwind in those moments in-between meetings.

4. Dance like nobody’s watching

Dancing is the BEST. Crank up the tunes in your car. Turn on your favourite track as you get ready for work. Dance without caring like the quote says. Join Zumba at the gym and jam away. Get the office dancing, get your family dancing. Everyone secretly likes to dance. Well, that’s what I think anyway.

5. Organise a play date

Call up a friend and organise to do something random. Spontaneous. Take a walk around your neighbourhood and toss a coin to decide which direction to take. Or make up some dares and go talk to a stranger or two. Go run in the ocean in the middle of the night with your pyjamas on.

The key point to remember is that play is not a luxury but a necessity if you want to live a healthy, creative, and joyful life. Come on, stop feeling bad about that adult colouring book you want to spend an afternoon with. Eat the coloured icing, break out the karaoke set and let loose – it’s good for you. The Bible actually tells us that on the last day, God rested. If playing and downtime was God’s idea, then we know it’s a good one.