#30 Why Life is Play

A few Friday’s ago I came home and my sister asked, “Bro’, doesn’t it feel good to be home after a long week at work?”

“It doesn’t feel any different from when I was at work,” I replied.

Whether it’s at home, eating food, spending time with friends, hiking, taking a shower, at my job, or any other event — life has become a game — a delicate interplay where good, bad, worry, fear, happiness, and all other feelings dance together.

For about 3 years, I traveled, worked for myself, and really had no authority figure to check in with, nor did I have obligations that needed immediate attention.

It was an amazing time.

I thought that getting a job would impede on the freedom I had but to my surprise, it hasn’t — not even in the slightest.

I find myself waking up early everyday — even weekends. I enjoy the new challenges at my job and embrace the journey that speaks to my creative side.

Unlock joy by constantly accessing reality

None of us for certain truly know where we come from, why we are here, and where we’ll go. We know this conceptually, but to live in this manner is an entirely different matter.

Philosophers will break down the moral landscape, scientists try to explain Big Bang, and religious fundamentalists fear the apocalypse . All the while in total confusion, just like you and me.

There is so much unknown in the world. I contemplate the unanswered questions often and it’s been very freeing to not know.

To not know why the spring flowers bloom in the way they do, or how the redwoods form a neural network of roots, or how a cow will shed tears when a human family member dies is beyond me.

Today I want to share some insights that will help you look at life as a game. Perhaps you will play and laugh more. I sincerely hope you do.

Perspective will set you free

While walking through the city, a homeless man asked me for a dollar. I looked at him and said I don’t have cash, but hope you have a good day.

Across the street, I saw a woman and her dog running on 2nd street. They pass the St. Francis Hotel with it’s patented glittered sidewalk. I was momentarily reminded of an ex-girlfriend because we had stayed there before. I was 22 at the time and nervous going to such an expensive hotel. I neatly folded a bunch of five dollar bills to tip the employees and made sure to make the hand-off in typical Clooney handshake style.

I looked up as I crossed Mission St. and saw the Bay Bridge. The city was not fully awake yet. The pan-handlers were getting coffee before embarking on the lucrative art of begging. The doormen were dressed in suits ushering in out-of-towners into their stationed boutique hotels.

Young techies were wearing the usual skinny jeans. Jeans so skinny the back pockets touch. On their feet, it’s usually Converse or Saucony’s, and the ensemble isn’t complete without an obscure t-shirt and hoodie.

I looked at the concrete jungles with amazement, not just for what it is, but how connected and undifferentiated we are from other species. The ants work together to build colonies. Although they may seem small in relation to us, we are the same size in relation to our solar system. Life is about perspective and it also begs the question, are we at all significant? Our buildings, jobs, the economy, and whatever humans have created is nothing more than a big ant colony; if only nations could work together like ants.

I believe we are insignificant, but in the same spirit, I carry well with the knowledge that we are as precious as we are unimportant. To most of the world, I’m nothing but because you know me, I exist and the same with you — and I reckon that’s what makes us important.

Writing has given me importance to my existence. When you read these words, I’m alive.

You’re alive. How crazy is that. You walk, eat, breathe, shower, make love, take shits, get drunk, etc.

I often look at myself in the mirror with amazement — not because I’m a closet narrcassist, but because I’ve become a stranger to myself — just as I’ve become a stranger to the world. It’s all very strange and the fact that you are alive is a stroke of luck and genius of the highest order.

You’re not hungry. Almost all animals in the wild are scavenging for food. The lion is always a meal away from starvation. The elephant has to constantly seek lush pastures because the vegetation it consumes digests quickly. The ants work in numbers as one cohesive unit because relenting will put their survival in danger. But not you my friend. I can venture to guess that you eat out every now and then as well. How lucky are you!

The world is going nowhere. At the bus stops, people are anxious. At the grocery store lines, people are impatient. While chasing love, people want to know the answers. With success, people wonder why it doesn’t it come soon enough.

The Earth is one giant house and unless Elon Musk figures how dropping thermonuclear bombs on the polls of Mars will make it habitable, we are here to stay.

Try to enjoy the moments of anxiety and stress by inviting them to play. All feelings will come and go. You were a child yesterday, today you are an adult, and tomorrow you will be old, preparing for a departure into the nothingness you came from.

See the impermanence in everything you do. Life is fleeting quickly. Take a breath to remind yourself where you are. Breath right now. You are here. See how easy that was!

We are all tied to the same fate — death.

Work hard, make mistakes, enjoy the struggle, enjoy the beauty and when it’s all said and done — you may laugh, but I say fuck that — LAUGH NOW!

Take risks and lose all ambition. I said it. I am not ambitious. I have none. I am completely void of it. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing in life, but in a weird way, I’m still going somewhere. Be in this space. Take risks like when we were kids. We were unafraid, un-jaded with societies standards, and unbiasedly pragmatic.

Contemplate death more. Many people don’t like talking about it. They think it’s bad. I speak of it as if it’s a stroll down the park. It’s a destination we all will share. Think about it more. It will give rise to urgency and the blood in your veins will flow deliberately.

Because I know my time is limited, I don’t have tomorrow to say I love you, so I say it now. I love you.

You will never have tomorrow and you will never be more beautiful then you are today.

Life is play because nothing is forever. Your problems will pass, your kids will grow. Where you are now will be completely different than what you thought of your future self.

Any predilections today will be unfavorable tomorrow, so say goodbye to them.

You can’t be anywhere other than where you are. It almost sounds like an idiotic statement right? Well it really is, but most people can’t grasp this because they are searching for something when the pot of gold has been in front of us this whole time.

Every time you can enjoy this moment, you’ve won. Keep winning my friends.

To have a mind in unison with what you see is the beginning of self-awareness.

I’ve said this in past articles and I know to many of my readers I sound like a broken record, but I’ll have to reiterate this point.

What ever you are doing right now is the most important thing you can do, because you can’t do anything else.

Ask yourself , especially during times of intense stress, where am I? You’re not in the future stressing about some deadline or in the past agonizing over things that don’t matter.

In this moment, there is complete and utter freedom. Take this moment and wake up to what’s happening. Be quiet for a moment. Hear your heart beat. Feel your breathe expand and deflate. Listen. I mean truly listen.

You are here.

When life becomes a game, you let go of fear. You speak up and let your opinions be heard. You are more daring. You start to become that child again. Who said that you have to act like a grown-up?

Be impractical. Embrace your quirkiness and shut out the idea of anything that elicits the slightest hint of mediocrity.

On the bus yesterday, I saw a kid sporting a mohawk, leopard skin pants, and an orange coat. He looked like the second coming of Andre 3000. I couldn’t help but gush in sheer delight.

Writing is my leopard pants. What’s yours? Find it. If you get tired of searching, take a break and try again. There are no rules to this thing.

A life of trying different things in the search for your leopard pants is just as good if not more important than finding them.

You were not born on this earth to conform to anyone’s idea, instead your purpose is to constantly rediscover who this self and your relationship to it.

So with that being said, have fun in life.

Make mistakes.

Do better next time.

Fall. Fall again.

Get back the fuck up!

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Life is an experience that will be gone before we know it.

Wake up everyday in wonder and like Rumi said, “Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment.”

Be grateful. Continuously rediscover and fall in love with yourself.

You are the window for others to see themselves in a better light and you can only do this if you play.

Play like there is no tomorrow , because there is no tomorrow.

With Love,

Anand Swamy

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