We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. George Bernard Shaw said that. Smart man.

I am reassured by this validation of play by such a brilliant mind. I define ‘playing’ as free-form spontaneous goofiness. But that’s just me…   Somewhere along the line I started using different voices, different personas to express myself at times…at first I kept this part of my personality guarded, afraid of what others might think. I think it was there from an early age but I shut it down in my quest to be invisible. Then as I got older, there seems to have been a sea-change where I let go of that fear…I loosened up, became more of the real me. Not that I pull a Sybil and spill over into one personality after the next you understand. That would be annoyingly over the top and lead to a mass exodus of my friends. But on occasion I let that side show to those who know me well. And yeah okay, maybe to some innocent bystanders in the supermarket line…

Years ago I did a brief stint as a stand-up comedian. Very brief. I had no idea how to handle hecklers. Then I found improv and took several courses at local theaters and clubs and LOVED it. I found the interplay and group dynamics intoxicating. Sometimes there would be a moment when I would totally connect with an improv partner and we would just build on each other’s creativity almost intuitively. Incredible. It felt like my inner switch was turned all the way on…

So there is something I love doing but have no idea how to continue with it. (I recently tried out at a local improv group — no go, though it was great fun.) One idea I am playing with is to go to a story slam.

Where does all that leave me now? Well, here I sit dressed as a panda waiting for trick or treaters. (Sitting down with a tail is less fun and more uncomfortable than I thought.)

Today was a rough day emotionally so playing a panda lightens my spirits…and makes the kids laugh.

I never want to stop playing.

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