I have a long list of “must dos”. A longer list of things I need to do. And a short list of fun things I really want to do. We all have these lists, whether on paper or in our heads.

The long lists take up most of my time. They include the everyday things I do at home or work. It means at work I figure contracts, reconcile GL accounts, take care of accounts payable, and analyze financial statements. At home I do laundry, have good conversations with my family, clean the refrigerator, cook dinner, or wash dishes.

The other items on the long lists are those that can wait but still need doing. Like clearing out the sun room and painting the walls. Getting quotes from contractors on more work we want done to the house. Cleaning out the attic and the barn. Trimming trees and more landscaping.

But what about that short list? Yours will be different than mine because what is fun to me may not be to you. But we all need our own list of fun things we want to do.

I want to fly somewhere with each of my kids and backpack on the Appalachian Trail this year. My husband and I want to see the Northern Lights and picnic in a vineyard. I want to paddle board and learn Spanish, do some freelance writing, and complete the Spartan Trifecta. These things don’t need to be done, and as author Mark Buchanan put it, the world isn’t changed by my doing them or not.

But I need to play. You need to play. Because we need a break from the ever growing “to do” list.

Because of the chores and responsibilities and deadlines, the short list tends to get shoved under the others. Disregarded as less important. Forgotten about.

If we’re not careful, adulthood can turn into one big obligation and we forget we need to have fun. We forget how to play.

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If you’ve neglected play for so long and don’t know what to do, start small. Play Go Fish with your kid. Dance in the living room. Fly a kite, jump on the trampoline or ENO in the park. Visit a theme park and ride all the roller coasters. Sign up for that cooking or dance class you’ve always wanted to take or join a book club.

I’m not going to tell you how you’ll benefit from playing. I want you to find out for yourself. Because the world may not be changed by your playing, but you probably will be.

Excuse me while I go jump rain puddles.