“Huh? What? Of course!” you may think. And if that’s you, my friend, I’m not talking to you. I live with someone who will prioritise fun in life over any serious business. In fact, he doesn’t take life too seriously most of the time. And as somewhat of a “serious-addict”, this has given me some much-needed balance in life. Plus he’s quite funny, so lots of smiles to be had throughout the day, even if his impersonations of various characters drives me bonkers from time to time.
No, this piece is for the serious, hard-working (dare I say workaholics?), time should always be spent in a useful way kind of people. Present company included. Now I really don’t mind hard-work, I enjoy it… until I don’t. And then I don’t in a big way. I get cranky, a little resentful, and personal practices like meditation that I know are good for me go out the window.
And all the while, I’m in control. I could say no, I could not take on more, I could just put away the laptop and go do something fun.
And yet I don’t.
It’s easier for me to retreat back into work, there’s always something else to do, another topic to delve into, another book to read, another commitment I have made to someone else that I will hold myself accountable to.
What I’m really doing is being completely absent-minded from the life that is taking place right now, right in front of me. My life is taken over by an endless list of to do’s, commitments that have been made in the past or need to be done in the future. And whatever it is, it keeps me from being present in the moment and the life that is here.
To have pure fun?
I sometimes forget what that even means to me. Spending time with friends is an absolute yes, but other than that? Hobbies? I don’t think I’ve ever really had many. I was recounting this to some friends the other day, until one of them point blank asked me:
“Are you having fun?”
And the reality was that I had to say no.
What a shocker.
Because really, if we’re not having fun and experiencing joy in our lives, what’s the point?
Now fun isn’t the biggest happiness denominator for me, overall meaningfulness still tops the chart. And fun is a very meaningful component of that.
So I’ve made a commitment to myself. To do at least one fun thing a day, big or small. Something that has no other purpose than to bring me joy. Because joy is ultimately the nourishment and food my soul needs to do its best work and live my best life. And because I want to slow down life, so I can take as much of it in as I can.
My life is not a list of action points. My life consists of all the small little moments where I take in what this life is really about for me. The time I spend with friends, the pleasure and yes, sometimes the sorrows I experience on the adventure of life, the places I travel to, the experiences I can have, and yes, also the work that I do.
If you’re feeling a little stuck in a rut, and want to create more fun and joy in your life, try some of the following:
- Realise that work is work. Life consists of so much more, and when it’s our time to go, we’re not going to remember all the checklists that we’ve worked our way through. A beautiful reminder of this is is https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying
What will really matter to you in the end?
- Give yourself permission. Understand that fun and taking breaks are essential to your health and happiness. Schedule time on your calendar for fun activities and make these a priority. Once you’ve scheduled this time, you will also focus more on the work that you actually have ahead of you. Knowing that you also have other activities planned, allows you to focus more on the task at hand.
- Try to remember what you enjoyed as a kid. What things did you consider fun then? Make a list and try these things again. It might take a bit of practice again, but you’ll get back into it. Just give it a shot.
- Pick up the phone. And no, not to check your social media. To call a friend and say, let’s go do something fun. A walk on the beach, a chat over coffee, a yoga class, or whatever rocks your boat. Friends, family, and community are essential parts of what makes a life meaningful and fun.
- Go do something you’ve never done before. I love to dance, but it had been quite a while. So I drove myself off to a dance studio nearby and tried something completely different: dancehall! Yes, I shook my booty, I looked rather silly, and I had a ton of fun.
I usually find that when I come off-balance, it’s because I’ve moved away from myself and have started living other people’s priorities or have simply lost track of why I’m doing what I’m doing. Slowing life down to assess and adjust your life again to what matters most is therefore essential. So take that time and take the responsibility, your life is in your own hands! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to shake your booty!
Photo by Kristopher Roller.