Running through the edge of the surf on the hard-packed sand, I looked up where the miles long beach met a lush green mountain. I smiled from pure pleasure. There were about two hundred of us racing on the beach at six thirty this morning. The early sun was rising in a blue, blue sky. I soaked it all in through my very pores. It reminded me of this poem “In Awe of Blue” by Ben Gieske:

“This morning the sun spattered the world with blue
Skies and from their resting places the winds blew…

The birds scatter from here and everywhere
And we’re in awe of what comes out of the blue.

What do we detect above the mountain tops?
Could there be aliens beyond outer blue?

Happy those who tan themselves on sea shore sand
Having salt-water waves washing them with blue.

Sometimes I wonder about this color too.
How can some ever be saying “I feel blue.”?

I want to take the sky, wrap it around you
and me. We could be enrobed in peaceful blue.”

When was the last time you enjoyed playing, having just plain fun? We all play differently. So, it might not be time at the beach for you, as it was for me. It is what we choose to do for enjoyment, rather than what we have to do. Play refreshes and de-stresses us. Play is the opposite of “working too hard,” the number one regret of dying people, as I wrote in my last blogpost.

It seems like being busy and working really hard are badges of honor and distinction in United States society. We ask, “How are you?” and regularly hear, “Oh, I have been so busy at work!” We never hear, “My life is really well-balanced between work and my home and social life” or “I’ve really been enjoying my free time!” The amount of work increases over time and expectations rise, in my experience. So, taking time to play needs to be an intentional effort. Improving our mood, relationships, productivity and mental health make it worthwhile.

I would write more about the benefits of play, but I think I need to go to the beach now.