I love Mr. Rogers but I have to disagree. Playtime is an important part of adulthood, too. It’s relief from serious living. I learned early on that a few hours of silliness with my girlfriends could erase a month of stress brought on by the rigors of running a household and raising children. We called it Ladies’ Night and took turns hosting. There was junk food, cocktails and games, like Pictionary. Sometimes, there was a theme: Prom night, June Cleaver night, Country-Western-Spanish-Colonial night (to reflect the decor of the home the hostess was renting). We took our show on the road and all dressed as doctors or nurses when a friend was hospitalized with a serious illness. Planned or impromptu – For a few precious hours, we ditched the kids and husbands, the housework and the responsibilities, and just played. It changed my life.
Eventually, our kids grew up. We returned to the workforce. Marriages failed. Tragedies occurred. Parents died. Grandkids were born. But the one thing that remained constant was Ladies’ Night. Together, we suffered the losses of husbands, homes, jobs and even children. The worse things were, the more determined we became: Ladies’ Night would make it better. And it did. It saved my life.
These days, we have taken it to a higher level. In addition to our regular evenings, we have overnights and an entire weekends devoted to playing. Our list of games has broadened. Nowadays, it’s really good food that we lovingly prepare and serve to one another. There are gourmet Jello-shots with lots of whipped cream. We wear our favorite pajamas and watch Mama Mia and Bridesmaids. We laugh – A lot. We cry when needed. We sing. We dance. Most importantly, we celebrate one another. We recognize that life is sometimes hard, often chaotic but always precious. No matter what, we face it together. And we play. That’s what friends are for.
My hope for each and every one of you is that you have such friends: Call it a posse, your tribe, the gang. If it has been a while, reconvene. Find a way to make it happen on a more regular basis. Life is too short to go it alone. Even if you have only one good friend, you can do this. Laugh. Cry. Celebrate. Most important: Make time to Play!