Never too Old-The Adventure of Play

The adventure of play keeps me feeling alive and brings me joy. I laugh at myself and learn new things which keeps my brain active and alert. Childish games are not just for kids anymore. You’re never too Old to play.

I’ve always loved to play

Playing games and using my imagination kept me entertained for hours as a child. My brother and I role played nearly every afternoon in our backyard where the apple tree became a fort or the mast of a pirate ship and the grape arbor was transformed into a villain’s hideout. The time spent in our imaginary worlds provided an escape from the pain of our home. As the years passed, our adventures together stopped and I was left to play alone. Even in my solitude, play gave me joy and brightened the darkness of my existence.

As a young adult, I played in the snow with my fellow college students and experienced the magic of Fox and Hound as we permanently engraved a circle in the grass outside one of the academic buildings. Our snow packed design remained long after the snow melted. We made snowmen and had snowball fights throughout the winter. We played board games and cards into the early morning hours.

When video games arrived, my family bought nearly every Atari game that came out. I wasn’t very good at them, but I loved playing. However, my interest waned as life became complicated. We sold the consoles and all the games and I put my love of playing on pause. Board games became a source of anger and conflict between me and Marty, my first husband. So I soon lost interest in most forms of play. I actually saw play as a waste of time.

Then I had grandchildren. Angel and Isaac loved playing games especially when Wii, Xbox, and Playstation came out. John and I bought a Wii console and played together often, but the fun really began when the grandkids visited. Finally, there was an activity we could all enjoy. My love of playing was reignited and continued to grow as the years passed.

Hello Minecraft

I’ve posted an entire blog on my interest in Minecraft, but I want to tell you how much the game brought back the joy of play to my heart. For those who aren’t familiar with the game, the best way to describe it is as virtual Legos with creatures that try to blow you up (in Survival Mode.) In Creative Mode (where I tend to stay) you have all the supplies you need and none of the creatures bother you. You can build worlds to your hearts content. You can also talk to other gamers if you share a server, so it’s a form of community. I resisted playing for a long time, but I love it now. It provides the escape I need to refresh my mind while being creative. I don’t know how many other grandmas play, but discovering Minecraft was like reawaking the child who played hero and villain so many years ago.

The Cool Kids

A couple of years ago the sitcom, “The Cool Kids,” was set in a retirement community and followed the adventures the residents. The show was funny because it touched on issues I experience daily. While I don’t consider myself one of the cool kids, I do live in a retirement community with some pretty cool folks. One of things I’ve enjoyed most is the times we play. We laugh, play Bingo, share stories, and do crafts together. Playing in a community brings us all joy and takes us away from the aches and pain of growing old. I love my community and the current manager is kind and caring.

Never too Old to Play

The adventure of play keeps me feeling alive and brings me joy. I laugh at myself and learn new things which keeps my brain active and alert. Childish games are not just for kids anymore. You’re never too Old to play.

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Mamaw’s Minecraft-Remembering the Power of Play

Recently I remembered how important play is to my well-being when I began playing Minecraft.

Play had a critical role in my development from a young age.

One of my favorite pastimes as a child was engaging in imaginary games with my brother. We would spend hours creating make-believe worlds where we destroyed evil and save the day. During our play, nothing else mattered. The abuse we endured temporarily disappeared from our minds, and we enjoyed the fantasies in our backyard. As the years passed, I substituted reading, drawing and creating crafts for the backyard games. I loved stories about knights, castles and medieval culture and often imagined being rescued by a knight in shining armor. My love of art, creating and playing continued as I navigated through the long journey to healing from the childhood trauma. My drawings were graphic and sometimes dark, but they helped me get through some difficult moments. When my husband, John, passed away I returned to crafts, drawing and writing to mend my broken heart. I could get lost in creating and find moments of peace.

 Recently I remembered how important play is to my well-being when I began playing Minecraft.

Yes, this grandmother is playing Minecraft and loving it! My family got me to try it a few weeks ago, despite my reluctance. I could not understand what anyone got from playing a game where everything is made from blocks. I soon discovered Minecraft allows me to create. I plan my building, watch tutorials and build something my imagination created. By doing so, I am rejuvenated and forget the chaos of the world for the hours I spend moving around my Minecraft world. On occasion, I interact with family members who play on the same server. In these days of social distancing, those interactions are precious to me. I give them a good laugh because I am so bad at navigating the game.

Playing Minecraft has helped me focus my energy on creating rather than dwelling on the latest crisis.

Oh yeah, I’m building a medieval village.

You may wonder how a discussion of Minecraft relates to healing. The answer is quite simple. Play is a part of the therapeutic process for many survivors who were robbed of their childhood. Learning to play reawakens lost innocence and joy. Imagination energizes my soul and brings life to forgotten childhood joy. Not every moment of my childhood was horrible. I played, I laughed, and sometimes I just imagined a better world. I’ve recaptured some of that through my Minecraft moments.

What can you do to reawaken the child within you?

Note: Picture is of my Minecraft world in progress.

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