It is a happy talent to know how to play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was an American essayist, preacher, poet, and philosopher. This quote, which was included rather unceremoniously in one of Emerson’s journal entries from April 1835, offers insight into his values. He cautioned against taking societal rules so seriously that you sacrifice silliness and fun. In this he was ahead of his time. Science has shown that, in fact, playfulness is a learned trait, one that benefits us physically, socially, and emotionally at any age. It is, as Emerson said, an excellent ability to cultivate for a happy life.