‘All work and no play’

Published 10:23 am Friday, August 5, 2016

“All work and no play makes Jack (Jill) a dull boy (girl).”

This proverb is interpreted to say: balance work with play or your life becomes boring. It originated in 1659 in a book by James Howell. However, its roots can be traced further back to 2400 B.C. in Egypt to a priest named Ptahhotep who wrote the first book of wisdom and believed that no man is born wise.

Some of my favorite usages of this proverb can be found in movies, music and TV shows. Worth noting here are The Temptations song, “Let Your Hair Down;” in the movie, “The Shining;” on TV in “The Jeffersons” and recently on “Downton Abby.”

The proverb was used by certain characters to refer to finding balance in all areas of daily living in order to avoid boredom. Most people, whether real or fictional at times, have to be reminded by a friend or an acquaintance that they either work too much or do not play enough.

Growing up in a rural farming community in Charlotte County, working from sunup to sundown was the norm. Up at the crack of day to do chores. No day was sacred, not even Sunday, because you served a big Sunday dinner, which you prepared on Saturday. After clean up on Sunday, you spent the rest of the time getting ready for Monday.

We worked all the time. We only got to play at school during recess with our friends. I loved it when I got to spend the night with my friends because it meant no chores and we played games outside. 

July and August are traditionally the time of year for cookouts, block parties, outdoor festivals, having “hot fun in the summertime” and family reunions. A lot of people go on vacations to the beach or to some exotic destination for relaxation. Sounds like fun to me, right?

As kids, we did simple things like dancing in an afternoon summer shower of rain that cooled off a hot day, made mud pies from the red clay, played hopscotch or we made up our own games using our imagination like, “Mother, May I.” Some of us played dominoes, spades and checkers. My mother used to dance and sing with her broom to her favorite song all over our house.

Now as an adult, I am keenly aware that life is lived from the inside out. We can plan and do many activities externally, however, being in tune with our authentic self/your divine guidance is key to not being bored out of our minds. These are my top seven keys that I now choose to stop boredom from taking root in my inner domain:

7. Live each moment in the now with an attitude of gratitude for being alive. Greet each day with zest and enthusiasm!

6. Hang out with positive people.

5. Do acts of kindness laced with compassion for friends or neighbors (Grandmother Violet always said, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”).

4. Sow seeds of forgiveness and love.

3. Weave new patterns of behavior into the fabric of your life. Each ending is a new beginning.

2. Find joy and beauty in simplicity.

1. Smile and live totally from your heart.

In this whole process of living, know that you cannot expect others to fix your boredom nor fill you from the inside out. It’s your responsibility to take care of you and ensure that your life is awesome so that you can “Positively Inspire” others by your example.

Yemaja Jubilee is a Charlotte County native and author. She can be contacted at landNluv@aol.com.