The other morning, I was sitting on my deck drinking a cup of tea, listening to the birds chirping and singing in the woods. There was a cool breeze blowing, so I sat there for a while watching one bird in particular who was picking up twigs, dried leaves, and bits of moss which she then carried off to another location in order to construct a nest. I once heard that most of the time, birds have four reasons to fly: to find food, migrate to warmer climates, gather nest materials, or to avoid predators. But studies have shown that there is one more reason why birds fly….sometimes they fly just because it’s fun! In fact, experts believe that 30% of the time, flying for fun is a bird’s main motivation.
That made me stop and wonder. If I divided my days into a pie chart, how much of my day is spent having fun? I spend my weekends pulling weeds and doing laundry and many other chores that have to be done in order to keep my household running smoothly. And even though there may be a sense of satisfaction in successfully re-caulking the bathtub or hanging new blinds in the living room, I’m not sure I would exactly call that “fun.”
The King's Stilts, one of Dr. Seuss's earliest works, shows how important it is to both work hard and play hard. King Birtram gets up at 5:00 every morning to make sure his kingdom is running smoothly, but at 5:00 every afternoon the workday ends and it's time to play…“When he worked, he really worked. But when he played, he really played.”
I know many of us spend much of our down time doing chores that simply have to be done. But, let’s challenge ourselves to try something new. I invite you to join me in matching the bird’s habits in the next few weeks. Let’s see if we can play and enjoy ourselves at least 30% of the time. In King Birtram’s case, that meant racing around town on a pair of red stilts! I probably won’t do that, but if that’s your thing, who am I to judge?