Not everything has to be for profit or gain, does it? Are we Ferengi all of a sudden? We can do things just for fun. But do we?
No, not really. In our lives, it’s very easy to allow a sense of obligation to domineer our activities. We easily allow our focus to shift from enjoying something to having to do something. We go out because we have to. We go for a run or a walk because we need to.
There’s a lot of pressure put on us. Not just from society and our circle of connections (family, friends, work) but from ourselves. We start moving in a direction and before we know it, we’re a runaway train. We can’t stop what we’re doing, we can’t keep doing what we’re doing, and we are as afraid as we’ll ever be.
Everything becomes a struggle.
So what happens? When we are in place that’s bogged down with our sense of obligation, our corrupted perception of yourself, and our fears what happens? We stop.
And that’s a natural reaction.
So, for a moment, I want you to think about something you loved to do. As a kid, as an adult, whatever whenever. What did you love to do? Now, if you are someone who has consciously made the effort to have fun doing whatever it is you’re doing, this doesn’t apply to you. But to everyone else…are you still doing that thing? If you’re having trouble recalling something, say this phrase, “I used to love…”. What did you love?
Are you still climbing in nature? Playing outside? Are you still swimming, playing tennis, running, biking, working on cars? Or did you “grow out of it”?
Do you miss it?
I used to love swinging on the swings and playing on monkey bars. They were my favorite thing in the world! Until I went to junior high and was “a big kid”. Then, I had to stop. Well, I didn’t have to but I thought I did. I could have chosen to go to the park when kids weren’t around (adults are pretty huge). I could have gone to indoor rock climbing places or any sort of crazy gym like that. But I didn’t. I didn’t even think about that.
Which is my point.
I didn’t even think about how much I loved monkey bars, swings, and playgrounds until I sat on a swing in the middle of a rainstorm that was flooding the playground with my best friend. Splashing through the water, playing on the playground I realized “I take myself too seriously” and that’s not something I wanted to do.
From that moment forward, I changed my life. I worked to not take myself seriously. I worked to have fun, stay childish in my sense of wonder. And it really isn’t hard it just means not caring too much what people think of you.
If I want to stop and stare at an ant walking with something for a few minutes, I will even if I look crazy. I’m the kind of person to squat down in the middle of the store because I see something interesting. I’m not about to corral my enthusiasm for life and you shouldn’t either.
Before we get into this, I want you to take a moment and evaluate your life. I’m not saying judge your life decisions, but I am saying to ask yourself if you are genuinely happy and if you know how to have fun that is removed from social outings. Can you giggle in the kitchen, laugh at yourself by yourself? Do you dance around, run in the rain, play in the snow?
Remember this. Remember it well.
Nothing is ever too silly.
If you catch someone laughing because you’re being silly and having fun that isn’t an insult. That can be perceived as a compliment. You made someone smile. But besides that, don’t let thoughts of silliness domineer your thinking. Going out and playing in the sand, the dirt, the rain, the snow is a fun part of living. We’re on this Earth and we might as well enjoy it.
Which brings me to my first point.
To be able to know how to have fun is the first step to being able to do something for fun. How do we have fun? It shouldn’t be a revolutionary concept except that as we get older it seems to get harder to do. Responsibilities creep in. Stress piles on, doesn’t get managed. Habits change. Suddenly, we’re grumpy old folk who don’t know how to joke, laugh, or even get along with ourselves.
So, how do you have fun?
Take yourself lightly. No, we don’t have to take ourselves seriously to be an adult. Being an adult just means that we’re mature, over a certain age, classified as someone with bills and responsibilities. But we don’t have to be anything. We certainly don’t have to take ourselves so seriously. We are just people, just a life form after all. Embrace your mistakes. Laugh at yourself when you’re alone. Joke with yourself! Make silly faces, sing loudly or out of key, wave your arms around, dance!
If I told you to jump up right now and do all those things, could you? Could you scream at the top of your lungs without being embarrassed?
Just relax! Have a sense of humor. It’s okay to poke fun at yourself. It’s okay to be weird and silly. It doesn’t matter if there is just you or ten thousand people around you. Be you.
Easier said than done. But! Keeping yourself in the present moment helps you have fun. You’re noticing the now. You aren’t dwelling on tonight’s problems, next month’s worries, or even yesterday’s faux pas. You’re just enjoying right now. Maybe you’re working and you see a butterfly. Stop and watch it. You’re in traffic and you see some birds flying around. Stop and watch them. You notice at night you hear cicadas. Stop and listen. Are you catching my drift? It’s very easy to slip out of the present moment but with some careful thinking, we can keep ourselves right here, in the present moment.
Focus on what’s around you consistently throughout your day. What do you hear? See? How does your food taste? Is the room cold, hot? How do you feel? It’ll take some effort, some force on our part to teach our brain how to live in the now but it does work out.
Okay! So we have figured out how to live in the present and how to be happy. Now what? Well now we get to move onto the really fun part of things.
Doing things for fun.
Let’s shift our focus just a tad. Our workouts, our runs, our work (sometimes), and our habits are for fun and enjoyment. They aren’t just there because we need to lose weight, fulfill another obligation. It can be hard to acknowledge this, especially if we have forgotten how to have fun.
Let’s take running for example. You’re a runner but your runs just aren’t fun anymore. It’s a chore. Every time you go out you’re upset, you just don’t want to. Well a few things can be happening, one of which is that you’re overtraining and might be due for a small break. But another thing that might be happening is that you’re in a lull.
A lot of times, when we slip into a lull of a passion or something we enjoy, we treat it like we honestly don’t enjoy it anymore and we stop. No fire can burn the same forever, eventually, you’ll need to add for fuel to it. It ebbs and flows. Holding ourselves to any other standard isn’t fair.
Our passion for our passions ebbs and flows too. Let it! You might have a chunk of time where something might not be enjoyable. It can get worse and worse or you can work to find joy in it in a different way. Try a different workout, a new right, a new set of conditions. If reading at night is your thing but lately you haven’t liked it, set up a new place to read. Get a candle. Hang up some fairy lights.
My point is that if you love doing something, it’s important to remind yourself that you do it for fun. You do this because you like to! If you don’t like to anymore, it’s time to move some things around and try something new. Just because you are a runner doesn’t mean you have to run the same path, at the same time of day, with the same mileage. Mix things up!
Most importantly, remember