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I love the word whimsy. Defined as “playfully quaint or fanciful behavior”, whimsy sparks spontaneity and gleeful joy. It pairs well with my word for this year, enchantment.
As I considered what to write about today, whimsy came to mind.
I was a very whimsical child, full of imagination and curiosity. However, childhood fears plagued me as well and lingered, eventually dimming my sparkle as an adult. I’m grateful for children and grandchildren, who kept my whimsy alive until I gathered the courage to defeat fear.
On the other side of fear I rediscovered my creativity and welcomed whimsy back into my life. You can bring more whimsy into your life too, with these simple suggestions.
As adults we often strive too much for productivity. Break up blocks of work during the day with a few minutes of play. Not sure how to do that? Spend time with children and observe how they move from imaginative play to imitating life. Kids learn by playing and we can learn much from watching them.
Try these playful ideas:
- Color in an adult coloring book.
- Ride a bike, jump rope, skip, twirl or jump instead of walking.
- Blow bubbles.
- Play in the sprinkler.
- Dance in the rain or pull on a pair of boots and stomp in puddles.
- Indulge in make believe.
- Make up a game. This is actually one of my favorite ways to get my whimsy on. Check out this game that I made up in 2016 that I called 30 Arrows of Desire. Inspired by an exercise in Walking in This World, I expanded on an idea and created a trust building game to play over the next 30 days. That whimsical activity became a game changer in my life!
Creativity engages the imagination and opens wide the door to possibilities and whimsy. You don’t have to be an accomplished artist or musician or writer to express creativity. Go with what you enjoy and have fun.
Here are examples:
- Create a fairy garden, in the house or in an existing outdoor garden.
- Gather supplies and make a Do It Yourself craft. or a fanciful piece of jewelry.
- Play with clay.
- Paint with watercolors, acrylics or oil paints. Let your imagination guide you or find a scene to recreate.
- Play an instrument. Better yet, make an instrument and play it!
- Write a story, a poem, haiku or a limerick.
- Make up your own song and sing it loudly.
- Create your own recipe.
- Dance with great feeling.
I created this fairy garden last summer, in a rusty old wheelbarrow. I loved looking at it every day.
Children are naturally curious. Bring more whimsy into your life by fostering curiosity and following it, to see where it leads. Do you wonder about something? Are you drawn to a country, a color or a song? That’s curiosity snagging your attention. Allow it to guide you.
- Pay attention to the things that grab your interest.
- Use a smart phone or the internet to look up information.
- Keep following the trail, to see where it goes.
- Write down questions that come to you during the day.
- Use resources at the library to learn more about topics that interest you.
- Be observant, which raises awareness.
- Watch for synchronicities! These are “coincidences” that have lessons to teach us.
I realized one day that although orange is my least favorite color, my bedroom décor as a child always focused on that color. Curiosity led me to study the color orange, unlocking some intriguing information that filled me with gratitude. You can read about that experience here, in Color Me Orange.
Surround Yourself with the Whimsical
Literally bring whimsy into your environment, with items that give you joy and make you smile.
- Add a fun or quirky statue to the garden or yard.
- Hang interesting art that sparks joy.
- Create vignettes, grouping favorite playful pieces together.
- Play music that gets you dancing and moving.
- Purchase or make a whimsical mascot, something that has meaning to you and inspires. I keep a caterpillar on my writing table that looks like Absolem from Alice in Wonderland. When I look at him, I hear him say, in Alan Rickman’s distinctive voice, “Who are you?” Absolem reminds me that it’s important to know who I am and what I want. (And if you are curious why Rickman…he voiced the character in the most recent Alice in Wonderland films.)
Get Lost in Fantasy
Discover new worlds that inspire whimsy and expand the soul.
- Read children’s storybooks and check out the genres of fantasy and sci-fi for adults. Examples include Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe and The Mists of Avalon.
- Watch musicals and plays. I’ve enjoyed many great productions at local high schools. A few favorites: Wicked, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and The Addams Family.
- Enjoy a fantasy, sci-fi or musical film. Check out Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Avatar, Mary Poppins and Peter Pan.
Try New Experiences
Trying new things and doing routine activities in fresh ways generate opportunities to experience whimsy.
- Be spontaneous for a day.
- Have a “yes” day.
- Use your non-dominant hand.
- Try a new food or a new recipe.
- Drive to work using a different route.
- Do the unexpected!
- Talk like a pirate.
- Visit a new restaurant, boutique, museum or park.
- Take a day trip to a different town.
Look for Whimsy
The best suggestion for bringing more whimsy into your life, is to look for it, be open to it and allow it to show up. Once awareness is raised, you’ll notice more and more whimsy flowing into your day to day experiences.
Whimsy is a way of seeing the world, a shift in perspective that brings with it smiles and great joy, renewed creativity and playfulness. Are you ready to get your whimsy on?
Whimsical vignettes in my creative studio.
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12 Replies to “Bring More Whimsy Into Your Life”
After I retired from teaching I felt like I’d lost the creative side of me. That’s why I started my blog. It gives me an outlet to be creative and to interact with people. Whimsy is the part that keeps us happy.
Yes! And the more we open to creativity the more creative ideas flow to us.
A definite yes to more whimsy! Adulting can be so serious and it’s easy to get caught up in that!!
So serious. I love being around my grandchildren because they remind me to play and have fun.
Love this!!!! We actually just made a gnome garden in our front yard!
That’s very whimsical! Garden gnomes are so fun. 😊
Love this! My husband and I looking into getting bikes — that will be so fun!
Riding bikes is a great way to live whimsically! Enjoy.
Cindy, this is such a fun article. I love the tons and tons of ideas that you share.
Thank you! Appreciate you and how encouraging you are!
First off, I LOVE THE CATERPILLAR!
He’s basically the best thing in Alice In Wonderland.
The post reminded me of how I “lost” my sense of whimsy as a teenager. I still did creative things, but parts of me (my Disney side, for example) I suppressed because I feared what others would say. Thankfully, after high school I decided I wanted to be who I was. Whimsical at times. I think we all, myself included, get wrapped up in the seriousness of life and forget to relax and have fun.
Thanks for the encouraging words!
Isn’t the caterpillar amazing? And I’m a huge Alan Rickman fan. I miss his light in the world. I’m so glad you are being you! Life can be way too serious indeed. We all need whimsy breaks! 😃