Guilt-Free Pleasure

6 May

Kids don’t run for the sake of running. They run to get somewhere fast. They run as part of playing.  And when they get tired of running, they walk.  And then, when their energy meters have recharged, they run again.

Kids don’t feel guilty having fun.  It’s their post-school reward and they enjoy it to the full.  Who doesn’t  have summer memories of pool parties, playing soccer under the streetlights (hoping your Mom would forget to call you in for a bath), biking around the neighborhood, building an elaborate sand castle at the beach and futilely trying to protect it from the waves?

Give a kid a ball, a frisbee, or a refrigerator box and they can entertain themselves for hours. Or an IPad or a video system would work just as well.

Adults often feel guilty having fun.  Guilty and pleasure don’t belong together.  Work hard. Play hard. And do it all over again. Find pleasure in your work. Find pleasure in your recreation. Leave the guilt aside.

If you enjoy gardening, reading, playing soccer, dancing to the Michael Jackson Wii experience (you know who you are!), exploring a new city, cooking a new dish, attending a baseball game, make time for that in your schedule. Everyone needs to recharge and recharging isn’t always done in the same way. Sometimes you want to be surrounded by people – chilling in a beer garden with 10 friends. Sometimes you want to be alone – on the couch in sweats with a magazine. Sometimes you want to shut down all technology and be uncontact-able. Sometimes you want the TV playing UFC and the laptop showing the Phillies score and ESPN Scorecenter on your phone providing updates on other games.

Some of my employees have forgotten how to have fun outside of work. They feel unproductive, guilty, lazy.  They’d rather spend their weekends at work.  This is not healthy.  If you can’t think of what you like to do, what relaxes you, what makes you say “wow, that was a good day!” then try to think back to your childhood and recapture some of the things you liked then.  Don’t wait until Retirement to retire from work. 

Retire from work at the end of every week and then rehire yourself on Monday morning. And play Whack-A-Mole with the guilt.

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