Something amazing has just happened. I still haven't got my head round it, but hopefully sharing it here will help.
I am learning to play!
Context: I am 65, an OAP (ha ha ha) and I've been depressed all my life, from early infancy. I'm also an only child, which didn't help me at all. Don't know how I got so lucky, but I have a fantastic husband and 2 wonderful children, now in their 30's. When the kids were born I already knew much about my depression and I promised myself (and them) that they wouldn't suffer because of it. They did, of course, in many different ways, but never to the extent that their mental health was destabilised. But that's another story.
I slowly learned from my children that they liked to play - and it left me completely out of my depth. My experience of play was limited to reading, doing jigsaws and doing crosswords. Also knitting, which my mother taught me when I was 4. Fortunately my husband knew what to do, how to tease and tickle and join in doing silly things.
But who defines silly? You see by the time I was 8 I already thought that the things that other children were doing were just "silly". Basically,I had no idea how to play, how to have fun. I dreaded being invited to birthday parties and in fact my mother must have dreaded them too, because by the time I was 9, I was only obliged to go to one party (a distant cousin) and I was allowed to sit in the background while the other kids played - yes "silly" games.
Well, now I'm a grandmother. Our granddaughter is 10 months old and she has wonderful parents who play with her. She's happy and curious and she expects me to play with her too. She's literally teaching me to play!!! And to shriek and to giggle and to be - OMG - silly!
And today I realised that I was really playing for the first time in my life. And I felt such a deep happiness. Tears in eyes just now. I'm thinking, how can I be a complete adult when I've never been a child? I am so grateful for this insight and for the opportunity that my granddaughter has brought to me.
In the words of Bob Dylan "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now"