I live in a house where each day, someone is in charge of tending the house’s joy, and they document the day in this book:
We call this person the Play Jay, and we each sign up to be Play Jay about once a week. It’s the coolest system for group living I’ve ever heard of, let alone directly lived.
Here’s a short list of what the Play Jay is actually supposed to do:
- Greet visitors, and help them find a way to plug in to the flow of the house
- Initiate 10-minute cleaning parties by blasting music and wooing everyone to join (of course other peeps can initiate these too, as needed)
- Make sure a group meal happens (not necessarily being the only chef or the chef at all, but checking in with people and coordinating)
- Harmonize the kiddos, maybe take them on an adventure or have some kinda activity for them, or see who might be up for something like that
That’s pretty much the extent of the shared roles of the Play Jay. And from there, each person gets to make it their own. The Play Jay question is: how do I want to tend the house’s joy? It’s an invitation to go pretty deep, because it’s a full day, just one day a week. Go hard. Make it count. Have a really good time.
Some Play Jays wake up early for Joy o’Clock. They tend the fire, and set out some conscious play prompts, inviting people to make gratitude lists and dream things forward. Some make breakfast. Some make dinner.
Some Play Jays clean the fridge. Some reorganize the basement. Some invite people out for walks. Some put up prompts on a big piece of paper on the wall. Some take the boys out to McDonald’s playland or the beach. Most start epic dance parties.
The day before Christmas Eve’s Play Jay went shopping for gifts and Christmas foods, and orchestrated a super fun wrapping party in the downstairs art space, while the boys played in their cardboard ship and eventually started unwrapping and taking the candy out of everything.
We’re refining the system. We just invented an even shorter cleaning party called Blitz, where you go hard for a one-minute group tidy. Someone just yells “BLITZ” and it’s on. One person who works five days a week decided she’d rather share her Play Jay day with someone else, so she could have more time for herself. Things like that are making it feel easier and more fun.
I’m so glad to be living in a community where we prioritize joy. Where the main system (the only system?) is about supporting joy, knowing that cleaning and kiddo care and adventuring and relationships and money and everything else falls into place when dance music is on and we all get to feel like we’re showing up fully in a continuous way.