It’s OK to Play When You’re an Adult
Photo by Maureen Churchill
Yesterday I took my son to one of those trampoline parks where you can run around and bounce. I paid for his admission and was given a neon pink bracelet to wear to allow me access into the jumping area while he played. I didn’t give it much thought at all. I took my phone and my book and sat on the bench, like I typically do at such places, and let him do his thing.
When we finally got home last night, after running some errands, I looked down at my wrist upon which the bracelet was still attached. I noticed for the first time that someone had written “observer” on it. In that moment, as I stood on the front porch about to water my plants and happened to look at the word on my wrist, I had a revelation — I don’t want to be just an observer anymore.
I have spent a good deal of my life on the sidelines. I show up to birthday parties and sporting events and school activities and sit on the sidelines watching and cheering, but very infrequently do I participate. Why on earth did I not jump with my son yesterday? It looked like a lot of fun. I watched a couple of parents, moms and dad, jump with their kids. I watched one man who looked like he belonged in Cirque de Sol, doing flips and jumps off the walls of the place. It was incredible. And all the kids loved it. They kept asking him to do more tricks and after he caught his breath he would.
It dawned on me that I have forgotten that it’s OK to play when you’re an adult. There was no reason not to get out there and jump and play and get sweaty and work in a little cardio, instead of sitting on a bench reading a book. Had my neon pink observer bracelet not been made of paper I would have kept it on as a reminder, it’s time to stop observing and start playing again.
I’d encourage you to join in, too. It doesn’t matter if you look silly, as I think kids like that best of all. Parenthood is a time where you can recapture some of the fun and excitement of being a kid. When did we all grow up and decide the sidelines were where we belonged? No more. I choose to not wear my neon pink observer bracelet anymore. I’m trading it in for an admission ticket and this is going to be a summer full of fun adventures.