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Summer Lesson: The Importance of Curiosity and Play

Do you ever take work too seriously? No way. Not me. Ha! Who are we kidding!? When you love what you do, (like I do) it's hard not to take your work seriously. But what does it look like when you let go just a little bit? What happens when you take yourself less seriously, follow your curiosity, and embrace play? Well, that's what I did this summer and I can't wait to tell you how it's going.

We've had a busy summer. But not in a 'busy schedule, lots of plans sort of way'. It's been in an adventurous and curiosity-led way. We've enjoyed lazy days at the beach, hatched two monarch butterflies, rescued a lemming (had to Google what it was!), and visited a local bison herd. We had a wonderful visit with my sister who lives in Australia and did all the "Minnesota" things she misses about home.

This adventurous summer has led to a season in which I've given myself permission to play with my artwork. I've collected inspiration from nature on our walks in the woods, admiring wildflowers, and picking up rocks and shells on the beach. You really can't beat the beauty found in nature. I've interrogated myself with the question "What do I like?" The answer doesn't change much: vintage, earthy tones, florals. I've leaned into it hard and the artistic results feel so true to myself that I think I might finally hang a print of my own artwork up in my house (fellow artists will know what a big deal that is).

One thing I had to do in order to have a playful summer was to let go of the work a little bit-the artwork and running the business. It meant I had to take my foot off the gas pedal just a little, slow down, and enjoy the view. The artwork side-no problem. I had a blast playing and making art for the sake of making art. The business side, however... was another story. I fought against this idea of letting go hard. I made every excuse in the book. I have to meet my big goals. If I don't put in 110%, I'll fail. If I take time off, I'm lazy. Sound familiar? Well, they're lies.

So, how does an over-achiever dial it back and work at 90% in order to make room for play? Good question! One I'm still working through but one thing that has helped me has been following my children's lead. Kids are great at playing and overflowing with curiosity! It is their number one priority, especially during the summer. I took cues from my kids and moved things like the beach, walks in the woods, and ice cream to the top of my to-do lists.

We're all guilty of putting the fun stuff at the bottom of our to-do list. The things we enjoy become the 'reward' for doing the things we're "supposed" to do. But something I learned this summer, is that fun can fuel the work. I mean I think I've known this but it's easy to forget.

As summer draws to a close and we're tied to a stricter schedule, I'm determined to continue making room for fun. I hope this serves as a reminder for you too—to prioritize life's pleasures, indulge in play and curiosity, and not take everything quite so seriously. Balancing work and fun is not only possible but essential for a fulfilling life. So, let's make room for play, curiosity, and joy, and watch how it enriches both our work and our lives.

Photo Collage of Our Summer Fun
Our Summer Fun

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