Time to Play

There are a lot of sayings related to time. One that has stuck with me over the years is, ‘we’re all traveling at the same speed – 60 seconds a minute’. The deceptive simplicity of the phrase is intriguing. I heard it first from my father. Actually, with the exception of myself, I’ve never heard anyone else utter it.

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Having retired from the workforce a couple of months back I now have fewer prescribed activities awaiting, or ambushing me each day. Frequently there is much greater flexibility in how I tango with time. My dance card though is still quite full and more often than not, although ‘things’ are more leisurely it seems like I still have a shortage of units (an expression I heard our kids’ dentist use recently).

I am thankful to be able to focus my attention more on family and community. This resonates well with what I have been doing with the PlayGroundology brand and with community events. Perhaps most importantly I am able to revel in – and at times recoil from (we all have those days) – the finest gift, time with the kids.

I’m very happy to be working on a few projects at present. I’m part of a great team at Dalhousie University gearing up for a Summer of PLEY. PLEY stands for Physical Literacy in the Early Years. I’m lending a hand with their social media and with the programming of a loose parts pop-up play session on the Halifax Common – good people, good fun.

 

We are wrapping up our year at Cubs next week and are celebrating our last meeting with some loose parts play. I’ve got 100 or so boxes to pick up to supplement my personal loose parts treasure chest which gets played with regularly by the neighbourhood kids. Tonight I was able to snag three kitchen stove boxes….

I was also approached recently to see if I would be interested in participating as a presenter in a longstanding annual conference in Atlantic Canada. I’ve provided an abstract along with supporting documentation and will be very pleased if I am invited to present on play in natural environments.

I will be gearing up shortly to help spread the word about National Play Day in Canada. Led by the International Play Association’s Canadian branch, this celebratory, get out and do it event is in a rebuild stage. Nova Scotia led the charge last year (prior to my involvement). This year on August 7, we are hoping for more engagement from across the country as we re-establish awareness and participation.

My retirement was predicated on an agreement that I would take over all household chores and the primary care for the kids – lunches, meals, homework, appointments, activities, etc. I can do better in this area. Homework is the biggest kid-related challenge. On the domestic bliss (chores) side of the equation there is lots of room for improvement. My only excuse at this juncture is that I am still in transition. This however, will become pretty flimsy another couple of months down the road.

I also have to work on reversing years of habit to enable me to take on considerably more responsibility for what my wife and I refer to as mental charge. She saved my bacon today as one of the kids was walking out of the house without the project they were presenting later in the day. It will come as no surprise to women that they are the ones who take on the bulk of this mental charge, or as it was referenced in a recent New York Times article, ’emotional labour’.

There is really no shortage of things to turn my attention to including those embryonic photo projects (embedded photographer with neighbourhood kids on the move and playing), more writing and research, investigating the potential of a traveling exhibit and so it goes….

It’s time to play.

4 responses to “Time to Play

  1. Nice piece, Alex, my experience exactly, though starting 20 years ago.

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    • Hi Donne – nice to hear from you. I hope all is well on your side of the pond. My father, probably about your age, is getting together with his four brothers this week in Nova Scotia. The lads all started out in Scotland. Three of them, including my dad, emigrated to Canada in their early 20s and made their lives here. Two remained mostly in Scotland with the the occasional excursions. It’s nice to see the five of them together – a couple of them are saying it’s for the last time. Always enjoy your comments. Thanks for taking the time to read. I feel honored that you do. Cheers, Alex

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  2. Really appreciated hearing your self reflection about your effort to take on emotional labor. It will not be easy, but so grateful that you are fighting the good fight

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    • Hi Ellen – I’m really at the beginning of the journey on emotional labour. Pretty much nowhere to go but up. After just a short time at home, I see that it is a significant contribution both in terms of importance and time committed. It is an imbalance that falls almost exclusively on women’s shoulders. Thanks for reading and and for your encouragement. Will you be watching the game tonight? We may be cheering for different teams. Cheers, Alex

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