I never learned how to play. As an autistic child, play was a foreign concept. I'd sit in stunned confusion as I'd watch the other kids amuse themselves. At the tender age of 49, this Aspie is learning the rules of play.
Webster defines Play as: 1 to move lightly, rapidly, or erratically; flutter [note to self, they are not talking about hand flapping, arm and finger tics or rapid, erratic pacing]
2 to amuse oneself, as by taking part in a game or sport; engage in recreation [note to self, counting floor tiles, cracks in the ceiling, watching clouds float and imagining walls and barriers all around oneself, do not count here]
My definition of play is to engage in a form of entertainment that is not distressful, in which there are no rules and the outcome is arbitrary.
As an Aspie, my every waking moment is defined by very strict rules and guidelines for conduct and daily activities. From the moment I get out of bed, the routine must strictly be adhered to. My food is identical every morning. The timing in which I get dressed and get my little guy ready for school must be close to exact.
Getting washed and dressed, like everything else, is a well thought out and honed procedure.
Play is very odd. It's hard to drop the formalities, the need for rules and order with a number of possible projected outcomes. Play is delving into the great unknown. It's living in the present moment. It's deciphering what feels right, at the time and trusting that it will be okay....even with an uncertain outcome. It's being willing to bend...to lay down the sword and scepter and allowing flow past the walls of rigid routine.
To build, to create an original craft or art project means being willing to be okay with imperfection.....trusting and listening to that very subdued and hidden little voice .
Uncertainty, within parameters, Can be an okay thing. I didn't say it was comfortable, but it's an interesting new place to explore. Releasing the need to project and know all possible outcomes....takes the fun out of things.
We need our lives to be predictable and safe. Our patterns and routines allow us the greatest feelings of safety and security. Never feel negative about our rituals. They are who we are. There is no shame in feeling safe and comfortable.
Play, it's a new thingy I'm learning about.