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Another lesson I learned from my brother is the importance of play. When we live in a world where we value societies definition of success of working hard, moving up the corporate ladder, making the most money, accruing the most things, having the most friends, and having he most of everything that is possible, it doesn’t often lend itself to free time. But due to Johnny’s personal definition of success including time for play, he has been able to focus on all that is good in life.

Play allows us to get back to what life is all about, having fun.  We all have responsibilities and things that have to be done, but that shouldn’t take away our want and desire to have fun. What is play? Play is doing an activity where there is no other expectation then having fun. It can be playing video games,  playing an instrument, sports, board games, or just hanging out with friends. Play is meant to relax and engage. Play is meant for connection and bonding. Play is meant to spark creativity and allow us to be children again.

According to the Huffington Post the five regrets of the dying are:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Our true self shows up in childhood and with age it fades and for some disappears. Play brings out who we were as children and in turn brings out who we really our. As children, we don’t know success, we don’t know expectation, and we don’t know about living for someone else. When we can get in touch with our childhood selves, we get in touch with who we really are.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

When we work too hard, we don’t have time to play but play should balance our work life. The adage of “work hard play hard” should be one that we honor. Play should not only be a reward for working hard but should be a part of our life so as not to take ourselves too seriously.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

When we play, we are getting in touch with our authentic selves. And when we get in touch with our authentic selves we find it easier to express our feelings. When we play, we live a little freer, we live a little more for ourselves, and we live for connection. When we are free and connected, we find it easier to share our true feelings with others.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

When we play, we stay in touch with friends. Play can be a solitary activity, but it a lot more fun when we can play with your friends. In a world that is so driven by technology like social media, play allows us to connect with friends  and loved ones in a way that is more authentic and more real. When we play with friends, the connection grows, and makes us want to connect more.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Have you ever seen a child playing and not be happy? When children are running around a playground or playing at a pool, do they look stressed or depressed? No! They look and sound like they are having the time of their life. When we play, we get the blood flowing, and we start to feel alive. When we feel alive we feel happy.

The one thing these five regrets have in common is not having fun. When we live a life that is true to ourselves we are not afraid to play. How can you add play into your life? What benefits do you think adding play into your life will do?

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