“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” (~William Goldman)

Life is hard. You know this and I know this. Even Westley knew this.

Maybe we’re not battling ROUS’s (for which I am more than grateful, as I generally have an inordinately outsized fear of normal sized rodents), but we’re fighting battles nonetheless. Financial hardships, relationship problems, career pressures, and let’s not forget pandemics and imposter syndrome.

The list goes on and I could too, but I won’t because that wouldn’t help. I’m going to suggest something quite different, actually, to deal with life’s more difficult vagaries.


As in – lighten up. Intentionally. Daily. Make time for play the same way you make time for emptying the dishwasher or flossing.

Make joy and delight and laughter part of your everyday life, and your everyday life will change. This is what whimsy does.

This is what we all need.

Technically speaking, the definition of whimsy is:

(noun) playfully quaint or fanciful behavior or humor.

Non-technically speaking, whimsy is anything wonderfully fun or silly or completely non-productive that sparks joy. Or it could be productive. You could spend some time with scissors and glue and end up with a collage that you love so much you frame it and hang it on the wall. But the goal is not to produce anything other than delight.

Whimsy is play, and play is important. Yes, even for adults.

When we play, our hypothalamus and pituitary glands release endorphins, triggering positive feelings. Play stimulates creativity and has been shown to improve brain functionality.

Play is good for you. Even Plato knew this.

“Life must be lived as play.” (~Plato)

But play gets ignored. Until we’re on vacation, maybe. Or until the weekend. Or until we retire and have more time.

Really? Should we wait for joy?

I don’t think so. In fact, in this 21st century world of buying and selling and producing and over-achieving, I think it’s more important than ever that we actively and intentionally pursue joy, because it doesn’t happen on its own. We need to make it happen.

The good news is, it doesn’t take a ton of time or a ton of money. Just a willingness to play. You just have to be open to whimsy.

So, what counts as “whimsy”?

Coloring is whimsy. So are fingerpaints and snowball fights.

Eating spaghetti with chopsticks is whimsy.

Painting pebbles with bright pink nail polish – simply for the joy of creating something beautiful with no practical use whatsoever – is whimsy.

Running through a sprinkler is whimsy.

Doing any craft that includes glitter is, by definition, whimsical. Though you might want to put down some newspapers to contain the delight.

Whimsy is anything that’s quaint or fun or silly or simply gets us out of business-as-usual and into delight.

And we need this because life is hard, as you and I and Westley know.



“You must not ever stop being whimsical.” (~Mary Oliver) “Life must be lived as play.” (~Plato)

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