Jordan Ogren

December 31, 2021

My challenge to you for 2022.

When's the last time you had "fun?"

When was the last time you engaged in "play?"

For me, it was almost four years. I would have occasional moments of fun or play, but it was never intentional.

And at times, it would create guilt. Guilt that I wasn't working. Someone, somewhere, was not playing, thus getting further than me.

This was a forcing function always to get back to work and leave the fun for a later day.

Until March of 2021. That was when my world came crashing in. Call it burnout, call it a mental collapse; it was my body's response to the past four years of intense hustle.

I had sipped too many Gary Vee cocktails.

And that sent me over the edge. As I was free-falling, I grabbed a few lessons. And one of those is the essential role of play in our lives.

I first came upon this concept in Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way:

"For most people, creativity is a serious business. They forget the telling phrase 'the play of ideas' and think that they need to knuckle down and work more. Often, the reverse is true. They need to play."

I'm in a creative field, and I fell face over heels for that lie: That creativity is a serious business.

I didn't see what Julia saw:

"Serious art is born from serious play."

But now I do. Now I see intentional (serious) play as critical to long-term creativity and productivity. It's something I prioritize.

What does play look like? It will look different for each of us.

For some, it may be watching a football game. For others, it may be a long walk in the woods with nothing to do but be present.

For me, it's playing with Legos.

I loved Legos as a kid. And then I grew up. But why can't I still enjoy them?

So now, every Saturday or Sunday, I spend two hours playing with them, whether building a new set or engaging in imaginative play.

What it has done for my stress is remarkable.

What it has allowed me to do professionally is another amazing takeaway. I'm more focused, productive, and passionate than ever before. 

It just looks different than the Gary Vee kind (i.e., swallowing my gum so I can save 1/7th of a second. He seriously does this).

All of this to say: I challenge you to play more in 2022.

Find out what play looks like for you and get intentional about doing it.

A final concluding tip: Do your play alone. 

Allow yourself time alone with yourself. You will thank me later, or should I say you'll thank Julia.

🧠 + ❤️ // JO