When I was a kid, school was not really my thing. I went, I did the work but it never came easy to me. My favorite class was gym where I could at least blow off some steam by running around and getting some much-needed exercise. Sitting still is hard for me! I spent the day thinking about what I would do when I got home from school.
Home was where the fun was. The path along the creek, the south end of the lake, the fields behind the house, the woods all called to me to explore them. Even my parent’s garden with its ever-changing raised beds of tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, onions, and asparagus were worth exploring. (Worth exploring, not weeding…)!
We had an old railroad hut in our backyard that was hidden by weeds, apple trees to check up on and a White Birch Tree perfect for climbing.
The words “go out and play” were as common as “dinner time” in my house. Joking around, My dad would tell us to “go out and play in traffic” and “don’t come home until the street lights come on”. I say joking because there was no traffic or street lights in my neighborhood.
We lived in the country and the bus ride always seemed to take forever to get us home. We would jump off the bus, run up the driveway and make a snack for ourselves. Mother Fran was always home when we walked in the door.
After eating a snack, I would ask Mother Fran if I could go outside and ride my bike, shoot hoops, go to a friend’s house, play ball etc… Or she would ask me to go outside and mow the lawn, weed, rake, shovel the dirt pile or pick dandelions for the chickens. YES, these were all jobs in our household! There were plenty of indoor jobs too but we both knew where I needed to be.
Mother Fran didn’t usually say No to any of my requests but the resounding phrase was always “PUT YOUR PLAY CLOTHES ON FIRST”!
I would dutifully change from my school clothes to my play clothes and head out of the house until dinner time.
Now that I am an adult, a middle-aged woman EEEEEKKKK – I still have play clothes and put them on when I get home from work. I get to wear comfy scrubs to work but I still can’t wait to change my clothes when I get home. In the winter I have my comfy sweats or jeans and a warm hoodie. In the summer old shorts and a t-shirt.
When I was a kid, play clothes helped ensure my school clothes would last as long as possible. In a large family like mine, hand me down clothes were the norm and clothing was purchased with the idea that items would be worn for years by multiple kids. Brand new jeans purchased for Child Number 6 would be passed on to Child Number 7. As Child Number 8, I ended up with lots of play clothes!
Today, my play clothes not only help me extend the life of my good clothes but have a psychological impact as well.
Changing from work to play clothes signifies the work day is OVER. That it is time to switch gears and to let go of any work related frustrations that didn’t dissipate on the drive home. Putting on my play clothes means it is time to relax, unwind, have fun. To me, play clothes represent that my time is my own. Play clothes help remind me to choose happiness!
Work clothes signify something different. When I put on my scrubs it is a reminder that it is time to be serious and professional. Work clothes (even comfy scrubs) have a weight to them that I must carry all day long. My time is not my own when wearing work clothes. I am trading my time for money (in the form of a paycheck). I like my work – but I would rather be somewhere else, I would rather be wearing something else!
Right now, I am wearing my yard work clothes. They feel like play clothes but I get to work in them. I get to trade my time for money and psychologically feel like I am playing.
I have to go outside and