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Bringing more play into our lives

I love being in the water, playing, swimming, snorkelling, anything water fun related – I am there! I have been dipping into the cold ocean, and since it’s winter, the time spent in the water is generally pretty short. For me, it’s up to 5 minutes. What I love about it the most is the time actually spent in the water, I find it so peaceful, and sometimes literally breathtaking (our ocean is currently 6-7 degrees Celsius), which forces you to be very present in this moment. There is no opportunity to dwell on anything, and it feels amazing!

Naturally, I wanted more of this blissful sensation. I have snorkel gear, but usually only did it in the summertime, it hadn’t really crossed my mind to go in the winter (hello cold water), until I learned that the visibility in the water is actually way better in the winter! Warmer water temperatures and more light encourage more algae and plankton growth, which reduces the visibility.

I found myself a snorkelling buddy – as I mentioned in a previous article, it’s best to go with someone else in the wintertime, safety first! We have gone on several adventures already and it is awesome! I just love being in the water.

My favourite find was the fish head! Video credit to my snorkel friend Greg O.

Which made me wonder, what is it exactly that I love so much about this experience?

There are the obvious:

- Time spent in nature

- I get to see cool sea creatures

- It’s an activity where I get to move my body

But there is something else that I hadn’t realized before!

I have been an athlete my whole life, and enjoy improving myself, whether it’s physical, emotional or a certain skillset. Often to the point of making up some sort of challenge where I start counting things and setting odd goals. It can really diminish the fun of the actual activity.

When I snorkel, there is no way for me to “snorkel better” (I’m sure there are technical things I could do but let’s not get into that!). I just float or paddle around and dive to see interesting creatures up close. To me, there is no “quantitative challenge”, it’s not up to me how many fish or crabs I come across. Setting a goal of “today I will see x amount of purple star fish” is totally absurd, and very much out of my control.

And that’s why I love it! Every adventure is different, it feels more like “real play” (just for the joy of it), and even if I didn’t see a single critter, I still get to be in the ocean.

As we grow into adults I think this kind of play often falls away, and that makes me quite sad. Life gets so serious, between daily adulting, jobs, kids and taking care of everything else takes up so much of our energy and time that we often just don’t play anymore. Playing for the joy of it is so much fun! If you are still unsure of what I mean, walk past a playground sometime and watch the kids for a minute, they are playing freely, exploring and having a ball. That’s what I mean.

I think we all need more of that sort of play.

I understand that playing on a playground may not the kind of play that gets you excited anymore, and that’s totally okay. What does get you excited?? Something where you forget about time, something that takes your whole focus, something that fills your heart?

Some ideas:

Anything creative – painting, drawing, writing

Music – playing or listening & dancing to it

Sports – Meet with friends or join a rec league



Bird watching



Do you have other ideas? What’s your way of bringing more play into your life?

Jani is a certified ICF & Martha Beck Life Coach, and offers a free discovery session to those who are ready to create their best life.

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