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Work Hard; Play Hard

Work Hard - Play Hard.

I have always hated that phrase. There is no rest in Olympic level competitive relaxing. It isn’t fun. There is no joy, rejuvenation, peace, or wonder in a life stuck in overdrive.

The sentiment that “playing hard” is the opposite of working hard, is a flawed premise. The two are parallel roads, not opposite ends on a compass. There is no change in mentality, speed, mood, intensity, or the attitude of approach. Work hard; play hard implies that you dare not slow down, even when you aren’t working. Your “leisure time” must be as hard driving and accomplished as your resume, or you are just doing it wrong. Your vacation is jam-packed full of activity in a photo worthy destination or it just isn’t valid. You don’t dare spend a weekend not warrior-ing it up somehow, even if that is having your kids in 3 different activities over those two days a week. Just so long as you don’t do anything “half-assed.” UGH.

You know what I suggest? Playing soft. Finding space for yourself and your family to breath. Taking time away from GO, and getting comfortable with STOP. Stop running constantly for no reason. Stop insisting that your every moment be fraught with achievement. If we allow ourselves the space and time to simply be with each other and soften, there is beauty there. Playing soft is deliberate, intentional, and has no use for anxiety. Playing soft is the place of unhurried snuggles, adventure walks and exploration, digging in the dirt, building forts, giggling uncontrollably, finger painting, spontaneous road trips, game night, imaginary friends, dancing, & other unbraggable but deeply worthwhile moments of connection.

Playing soft is the Tai-Chi of human connection and experience. Here is where you find the glide, the breath, the lightness in the curve and bow… Playing soft is the ACTUAL counterpoint to working hard.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for adventure. I’m just sick of the implication that playing HARD is anything other than more work.

You know what I like? Skiing. It’s a great example of balance. You exert a great amount of energy taking your run, but then you find yourself in a mandatory rest, laughing, talking, taking in a beautiful winter landscape, or quietly shuuushing back up through it on a T-bar or pommel. You may even find yourself taking a run out through the trees & powder, in a completely counterintuitive stance. Leaning forward and attempting to force your skis through the snow results in a fall and a nasty time getting back on your feet. In order to successfully navigate powder, you must lean back, away from your goal, and allow gravity to do the work. Your ski tips lift. You float through. Playing soft.

I hope you find space in your life to let go of expectations and constant planning. That there is time and room for you and yours to let gravity do the work and find the wonder in the ordinary. I hope you “play soft” and reconnect with each other in simple, joyful ways.

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