Monday, 4 August 2014

Thought Picnic: Learn to play again

To work and to play
“They who don’t know how to work, don’t know how to play.” These were the words of the renowned educationist, Dr Tai Solarin.
The truth in this is too evident, yet, many fail to see the significance of this statement and its meaning towards wellbeing and happiness in life.
He worked to the end
I remember a cartoon of I saw early when I started contracting in 1995, a man appeared at the heaven’s gates and all the hosts of heaven were rejoicing and the record innings of age he had put in on earth and that number had not been recorded since close to the beginning of time.
In his confusion, at the fanfare, he asked Apostle Paul, why all the jollity and ululation, to which the apostle answered, “We totted up all your contracting hours and that gave you an age of 140 years when you died.” The reality on earth was that the man had died at 36, but he had worked all hours for the highest reward he could get with overtime and much else until one day he expired from exhaustion.
He probably thought he knew how to work, but he never learnt to play, it is possible he had opined that play could come at a much later time when all the work was done. Sadly, he never got to play.
Break away to hold sway
This is a story that is probably told in many lives, people who have become slaves of work and enemies of play and fun, having failed to develop a work-life balance then sadly reap a bad harvest of poor health, failing relationships, depression and possibly early death. It out not to be so.
We need to make time for our minds and lives to escape the rat race, get off the treadmill of routine and let a sense of the carefree take hold so that laughter, enjoyment and fun can tease out the child in us. It is not escapist, in fact, it is renewing, rejuvenation, refreshing and re-equipping us for new goals and purpose, and it brings meaning to life and the joy of living.
Bad examples are lessons too
Too many times, I have watched people of my parents’ generation go on annual leave and they simply plough themselves in other strenuous activity that they are neither resting nor relaxing. On returning to work, they are like they need another holiday, yet they carry on bringing stress and blood pressure issues into their lives because that have not learnt the art of play in their quest to maintain the aloofness of their status in the family and community, it is a shame.
We their children are not learning new lessons either, the many living in Diaspora who choose to take their holidays in Nigeria just heap on themselves additional strain and in their delusions they assume they are achieving something, not really.
Make time for play
Life is more than work and whatever the success of a workaholic is, one should hope that it does not end up being in vain, they having made themselves seemingly indispensable, then find that life dispenses of them in quick despatch.
When I first started contracting, I gave a lot of attention to my rest periods, it was such that I only worked 40 to 42 weeks a year and found time to enjoy the finer things in life. With time, I never allowed anyone to usurp my time, I had a life outside work and responsibilities for my rest period.
Even when I had the generous remuneration of double-rates for overtime and triple-rates for weekends, I spent that time for myself, money is not everything, much as money can do a lot of things.
Rediscover your sense of fun
I learnt the need and benefit of a work-life balance and most importantly I learnt that when any job was beginning to have an adverse effect on my wellbeing, it was time to walk away and recover than stay there and expire.
Take time off and spent it doing exciting, adventurous and wild things, find time to rediscover the joy of living and never lose your sense of fun, renew your youth with experiences that take you places to discover beauty, wonder, intrigue, mystique and magic. Find time to dream and feel free to live it.
Know how to work and know how to play.


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