Play Like You Mean It

Why is it that I can never give my concentration to one single thing at a time anymore?

It’s frustrating.

The other day someone said that it is impossible to multi-task, it just means you take longer to accomplish less. I had to disagree. I usually get a lot done in the most efficient means possible. (Like when I “watch” tv, I am usually also doing something else at the same time… paying bills, doing my nails, folding clothes, crafting with paper, looking through recipes, writing a blogpost) well, you get the idea.

But I kind of miss the days of getting totally absorbed in one specific task.

I spent the weekend with a 2 year old. When she plays, she plays. She might get slightly distracted by a dog racing by in the sand or a loud boat cruising past on the water… but she’s pretty focused on the task at hand.

I, however, am not.

For a while little Sadie and I played on the beach with a wagon, then a boogie board (she thinks it was a surf board), and then a watering can. We moved from one task to another, spending time on each one. I’m not even 100% sure she was the one who changed tasks, maybe I did, getting bored, wanting to move to another spot located more in the sun, or maybe it was Sadie deciding she'd had her fill of the game. Whatever the reason we moved on to something new, I admired the way she focused on the task at hand. While we played with the watering can, we totally played with the watering can.

It was the same little routine every time. We hold the can under water, watching it bubble as it fills. She says “up” indicating I should lift her onto the dock, then she pours the water out to “wash” the dock (making all the drier lighter areas turn dark with the water), until the can is empty. Then we repeat it all again. The same way each time. Over and over and over.

Why can’t I do that? Why am I always changing it up? Trying to do more in less time? I wonder if I am missing some of the important things in life that are smack dab in front of me because I am always looking ahead and thinking about what I should do next, or what I need to get done.

In some ways I want to be like little Sadie. I want to focus totally on the task at hand. I want to feel less scattered. I want to play with abandon, like she does. I want to play like I mean it.

Heck if I want to hop hop for an hour, I should just be able to hop hop away. But I don’t do that. I never do. I feel guilty taking the time just for me. When the heck did I stop playing? Was it when I became a mother? Was it when I grew up? Did I just give up on time for myself?

All I know is that I am ready for some play time. Some time for me. Some time to focus on the task at hand. Because maybe, just maybe, focusing on the task at hand…might actually allow my mind to clear, the endless to do list to erase, and the future to come into focus.

It’s time for me to take a lesson from my weekend with little Sadie, and just play.

When is the last time you played like you meant it?