Each morning I browse my favorite blogs and websites for daily motivation and direction. Today I found a great podcast on one of my favorite life coaches’ websites, The Joy Junkie, regarding how to incorporate more play into each day. I was a little apprehensive about listening to it, because I thought it may not be the most productive use of my 30 minutes of morning computer time, nonetheless I tuned in. In Amy’s (the Joy Junkie) interview of Susan Hyatt I gathered several insights that I wanted to share and reflect on before starting this new week.
First, what happen to all the fun in life that used to exist as children through twenty somethings? Susan and Amy concurred that somewhere along the path of their early 30s the fun of life started to fizzle. Things started to get serious and before long responsibility had taken over almost 100% of their lives.
Fun leaks out of life in a very slow and stealthy matter. You may not realize it at first, but soon you find yourself scheduled and productive nearly 100% of your time. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t lend itself to impromptu movies, general silliness and other completely unproductive ways of enjoying life. In our Westernized society we sometimes forget that we aren’t here to produce and consume all of the time. We can lie in bed and relax, we can play Frisbee after work and we can just simply take in the joy of being alive and not feel like we need to earn happiness. It is our birth right.
Second, fun doesn’t necessarily have to be scheduled or reserved for “date nights” and vacations.
In our busy lives full of activity and occasional rest, we often think that fun has to be reserved for special occasions, scheduled and typically expensive. However, fun doesn’t have to be contrived and held for only momentary weekend joy. There are lots of little things you can do to make your partner, friends or kids laugh every day. Examples could include: hiding a funny little figurine in their lunch box, pulling pranks on each other or even chasing your cat around the house with a laser pointer. Life doesn’t have to be so serious. You can let your hair down, make fun of yourself, be silly and still be a professional at work. What you can’t do is lose the child in yourself and accept that life for adults is just drudgery, with occasional happiness on vacation.
Third, everyone’s idea of fun is going to be different. Of course we know this to be the truth. Your perfect weekend may consist of watching NCAA matches and mine taking a walk with a friend and reading a book. We don’t need to be the same. Yet, although we know our ideas of fun can be different, many do not explore what new fun for them can look like. One thought that Susan shared was to reflect on the activity of your friends on facebook, not to provoke envy and malaise, but rather to play with different ideas of what could be a fun activity, destination, goal or even lifestyle adjustment you can incorporate into your life for more fun.
Fourth, as always you bring the attitude and it impacts your experience of the situation more than anything else. How can you make mundane things fun or an internal competition? I used to be better at making the routine fun, but somewhere along the way I lost the zest for things like grocery shopping and my more monotonous work tasks. My college roommates used to laugh at me because I genuinely loved grocery shopping while in school. This week I tried to shake it up, I made a competition of maximizing my coupons via apps, indulged in every sample station, learned about a new product to get a little store door prize, more or less, I leisurely experienced the activity and had fun with it. This week at work I’m going to challenge myself to have coffee with two new people and ask them what they’ve done to simplify a daily task or bring fun to their days, even if it’s a little cheese-ball, I want to learn from others about how they keep fun alive.
Given all these lessons, I now understand why I was hesitant to listen to this podcast; I don’t always put “fun” as a priority. It’s a nice to have, wishful thinking for when the to-do list is done, but it should NOT be this way. If we’re not having fun, we’re not enjoying the ride; we’re living too much in the future or too much in the past. It’s great to have goals and a certain level of responsibility, but it should not consume you to the point that you don’t feel excited to wake up and experience what today has to offer. Life can be fun; you just need to open the door to it.