22 November 2016. The other day, I found myself in a field with a pack of dogs. They were romping around me, barking, jumping, zigging and zagging, playing like pros. So much of being a human around an animal involves play: chasing an animal through a park, rolling around on the floor, giving belly rubs and getting couch cuddles are a few examples.
But without an animal, play can become a complex pursuit. The Oxford Dictionary defines play as "Engag[ing] in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose." So is reading a form of play, or only if you're letting yourself sink into a story with no concern for edification? Is getting sucked into an hour of phone scrolling play, or not so much if you're doing it to distract yourself from a painful commute?
This kind of analysis probably defeats the purpose. Simply, real play should feel invigorating, natural, and absorbing. It's helpful, when you've been sucked into the internet or find yourself unable to get up from the couch, to think of those romping animals. Get focused on fun, whatever it may be. Maybe you get a little muddy and dirty, but play until you're so tired that all you can do is flop down and fall asleep. A bath can wait until tomorrow.