I’s play too! Just not like you!


The last two weeks have been very busy ones for me.  This translates to limited time to play.  I like to do things well, and therefore this limited play is making for a crabby writer in me trying to get out.

I had lunch with a friend this week that was kind enough to share her time and talents in my classroom.  She brought a colleague of hers to the class, and afterwards we headed out to lunch.

When I have lunch with this friend, I often try to allow extra time in my schedule so that it feels free and less structured than an average “let’s discuss business” lunch.  We connect on many levels, especially on an intellectual play level.

I thoroughly enjoy intellectual play – banttering around ideas and possibilities.  For me, it includes things like reading, thinking big thoughts, solving the world’s problems, defining and redefining priorities– that sort of thing.  The ideas we share and the problems we solve over those lunches energize me. (You reading over your friend’s shoulder, stop rolling your eyes, I am neither a snob nor a bore!)

We also talked college basketball – what a week for that!.  Personal stories were swapped and so were many laughs.  It was the kind of lunch that lingers, and when it comes to an end you’re sorry. My personal schedule nudged me to move on.  After all, the school where Youngest Son attends frowns on leaving your child there after a certain time while you lunch with friends.

As I drove home, I felt rushed and behind.  I kept thinking, “I made a commitment to the blog and I have to get this done.  I wanted to get this done this afternoon before the end of the school day for Youngest Son.”

Anyone out there find this thought a bit odd?  We are supposed to play here on the playground, right?  And it seems to me, reading the words typed above, that I had done just that.

Let’s rewind here.  I did not make a commitment to the blog.  I made a commitment to myself.  What was it that was impacting my ability to see this?

My “ah-ha” moment came when I returned to my home office and took a moment to look up my Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator. It’s a personality test used in many places; I have often seen it used to build teams in a work place setting. We had chatted a bit about this over lunch and I remembered mine being INFJ.   (If you’re curious about this at all, I am sure you can find a self test on the internet)

I was curious to see how my INFJ self might play, at least according to Myers Briggs.  One line struck me as I read about my personality type:

“INFJs have a tendency to want to complete their work before relaxing. As a result,their personal needs may be neglected as they pursue their passions.”

Many times I feel guilty about my passion for my work, and the causes I support. These take time to follow through on – and that sense of purpose, and passion often look like play to me.  I often join causes where I think I can make positive change – whether it’s raising money to find a cure for a disease, working one on one with a student on their writing skills, or creating a blog for others who struggle to play.  I love doing these things and comment regarding how lucky I am to have a career I love so. I am well aware that this is definitely not the case for everyone.

This is something that can make it difficult for me to play.  Somehow I have it in my head that the work that I love is play too because I love it so much. But it is not. It is work, it needs fuel, and I need refueling.

So I am signing off right now, it’s time to play. Maybe I’ll see you in the garden? I’m going to plant some herbs. Wait until I share what I have learned about kale!   Good stuff! While I’m out there, I’ll be thinking about my next play adventure.

How about you? Playing much these days?


About mmtcounseling

Melissa M. Thompson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in working with adults, children, and teen, facing the challenges of depression, anxiety, grief, divorce, and chronic illnesses such as cancer and cardiac disease. Melissa is the founder and Executive Director of MMT Counseling Services in Batavia, IL and a professor of Social Work at Aurora University. For more information, go to www.mmtcounseling.com.

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