Yesterday evening I went to play soccer. I have not been having much fun with my soccer this season. I don't know why, I just haven't. I've felt no drive off the field and pissed off on it. My play has been tight, angry, with no risk-taking and no flow. It's like I put my game inside a big rock and from that rock I carved a mask of grim determination and I have been wearing it, grey and hard, over my face.
I'm getting tired of not enjoying the things I do for fun.
So before I left the house, I declared, "Today in my game I will cultivate joy." I asked myself, "What is my favorite thing to do on the soccer field, something of which I have full control?" I answered that I love beating someone for pace. So I set this goal: that at least twice in the match, once in each half, I would try to dribble by a defender. I didn't have to beat him, I just had to try.
I gave myself permission to just go for it, and go for it I did. A couple of times in each half I found the ball at my feet and saw space around the defender and I revved myself through the gears and pushed the ball toward that space, and I found a freedom that I hadn't seen in my game in I don't know how long, and I smiled and I laughed and I smiled.
For those of us fortunate enough to have put aside making money as a reason we play the games we play, what keeps us playing? Only one answer makes sense: we go out to these parks and play these silly games because doing so makes our lives more full, more joyful, better. Let us begin, then, to find the parameters within our control that enable us to shatter these grim masks and reveal us underneath, smiling.