Don’t forget to play

As a child, life was all about playing and exploring. Everything is new and exciting, and every experience is a discovery. Every moment shines with its own light, and every second of your life is an adventure. We see the world as a collection of shining pearls at the bottom of the ocean.

As you grow older, however, the shine begins to wear off. What once seemed new to you is no longer so. Things that used to make you open your eyes with wonder now leave you feeling indifferent.

You filled your life with obligations and tasks, filling your calendar with events that don’t always leave you feeling fulfilled. In the process, you forgot the most important task of all – to keep looking for those shining pearls that make us open our eyes with excitement and allow us to keep playing.

You may feel like there’s never enough time to do all the things you want to do, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Having limited time forces you to choose, and to choose is to live, and we learn to choose over the years. Because inaction or not choosing, which is the same, leads to frustration, doesn’t it?

Think of the space you have to fill as a set of boxes. There are a limited number of boxes, and once they’re full, you can only make room for something new by emptying some of them. Making space is part of the process. Unlearning is part of the process. It’s not all about more, most of the time less is the way.

But it’s also important to leave some boxes empty for all that is yet to come. If you fill all those boxes with “have to-do’s,” you won’t have room for the “want to-do’s.” You won’t have time to call that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, or to visit your grandmother who misses you. You won’t have time for the truly essential things, the things that come from within you.

This message goes to whoever wants to read it, but above all it goes to me. I feel privileged to be able to travel and to have visited many countries in the last few years. I feel very fortunate that the boy who read Jules Verne finally got to see the world with his own eyes.

Contradictory as it may sound, in recent years I have also felt a bit miserable at the same time. I’ve worked on things that did not motivate me unnecessarily. I’ve done things I didn’t want to do “because I was supposed to”. I’ve travelled to places I didn’t particularly look forward to just “because I had to see them”.

As much as I kept doing “what I was supposed to like” I felt like a real imposter. That’s why this message goes to me the most.

At this moment if all goes well I will be in Japan. Years of wanting to visit it. The instant I bought the flight, that box was filled with something I want to do.

I have been dreaming about this trip for more than a month. What the people will be like, what the food will be like, what it will be like to walk through the streets. I want to savour every corner, to take a million photos, to observe and taste everything that comes my way.

This week I listened to this interview with Derek Sivers where he said that the time you need between wanting to do something and doing it is minutes.

If you are in a similar situation: buy that flight, leave that job, leave that partner. Don’t forget to empty some of your boxes, to make room for what’s next. Keep playing and searching for those shining pearls that make life worth living.