by Kathi Szabo
This past week, I’ve been getting signs I’ve interpreted to be about having more fun. From a post from a friend and professor of mine asking “What do Gen X, overachievers do for fun?? Beyond reading books, podcasts, & travel…” to day 15 of Gabby Bernstein’s Manifesting challenge, “Follow the Fun,” it seems the universe is whispering to me, “Girl, have more fun!”
I responded to my friend’s post, “Hiking. Gardening.” Both of these are fun for me, but they are also part of what I do for a living. Hiking is part of what we offer through Eclectic Well-Being and gardening is now part of owning Eclectic Sanctuary.
Does my fun always revolve around work?
My mom likes to read. So do I. She reads romance novels. At 84 and with her eyesight diminishing, she is reading once again, Gone With the Wind. What am I reading? Becoming, by Michele Obama. What did I just finish reading? The Subtle Art of Not Giving F*ck by Mark Mason. Is my reading fun or personal development? So, I ponder…
What is Fun?
As usual, I go to dictionary.com to ensure I understand the definition of fun. Maybe, after all these 58 years, I don’t know what fun is. 🤷♀️
I confirm that Fun is a noun. It is “something that provides mirth or amusement.”
What actually is mirth?
Check that definition and it seems it’s all about laughing.
Does this mean my fun must include laughing? I don’t really laugh much when I’m hiking or gardening. But I do find amusement (something that entertains) in both. Watching nature is entertaining, whether it’s on a hike and seeing birds and other forest life or watching my garden bloom. I do find nature quite entertaining, but I wouldn’t say it’s amusing. Amusing is back to that whole mirth thing, something that includes laughter.
Maybe I don’t really experience fun?
I move on to the second definition of fun, “enjoyment or playfulness.” Well finally! I enjoy hiking! I enjoy gardening. Not sure if they are considered playfulness, but if fun is enjoyment – maybe I do have fun!
But I also enjoy working. Should I include work as part of my fun?
And if I’m in the right mindset, I can make cleaning the house fun. But does that also count as part of my fun activities for the week? In response to my friend’s post, could I say work and cleaning the house? I think if I did, people would call me crazy.
I’ve thought about fun before when I noticed I was so engrossed in my coaching and speaking engagements. It’s what inspired Explore Laugh Play, a summer 30-Day Challenge to put more fun in your life.
If you’ve played with me, you know I have plenty of ideas for Play!
In the challenge, we play hopscotch. Make an attempt at building a fort. We blow bubbles and catch fireflies. We explore, we laugh and we play.
Unstructured play is one of the best ways children develop. They learn social skills.
Play engages creativity. Play teaches probelm solving skills. When we allow children to play, we build their confidence and increase their overall well-being.
Adults also benefit from play. Similar to meditation, play allows us to be in the moment. It allows us to detach from responsibility and reduce our stress levels.
Adults also benefit for engaging our creativity and problem-solving skills from play. This usually makes us more productive at work and home.
Playing outdoors, we get fresh air, which helps us sleep better.
And as we age, play produces more grey matter, which is important for memory and reducing our chances of dementia.
What About Having Fun Other Than Through Play?
Catherine Price, author of the book The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again, states that true fun “materializes when we experience the confluence of three psychological states: playfulness, connection, and flow.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/23/well/mind/having-fun-suceeding-coronavirus-pandemic.html)
She goes on to describe playfulness as doing things just for the pleasure of it. Ok, so fun has to be done for the pleasure of it.
Connection is having an experience with another person. It’s developing relationships.
Then flow is that feeling we get when we are so engaged in an activity, that we lose all track of time.
If I understand her correctly, one needs to experience all three: playfulness, connection, and flow, for an activity to be fun!
That opens up many of my daily experiences. Writing this article, part of my work, can be considered fun! I enjoy writing just for the heck of it. It may be part of my work, but it became work because I enjoy it. And I want my work to be enjoyable. It’s connecting with all of you reading it. And I’m totally in flow! The only reason I noticed the time was because my stomach started grumbling for lunch!
But is having fun while working enough?
Money, Health, Joy, and Peace
Stan Jacobs, author of The Dusk And Dawn Master: A Practical Guide to Transforming Evening and Morning Habits, Achieving Better Sleep, and Mastering Your Life states “To be happy in life, develop at least four hobbies: one to bring you money, one to keep you healthy, one to bring you joy, and one to bring you peace.”
I like this way of thinking, but can we apply it to fun? After all Fun is not Happiness.
However, studies show, having fun does contribute to happiness. And what are hobbies? Aren’t hobbies things we do for fun?
So what if we had something that we did for fun, that also brought in money? If our work, our job, career, or business was also something that we find playful, connecting us and being in flow?
Then, what if we have an activity that is fun but also keeps us healthy? Instead of despising our exercise class or eating cottage cheese because it’s healthy, what if we took dance classes with our spouse and ate a delicious but healthy dinner that we prepared together at a cooking class? Fun, but all healthy things!
Can something fun, bring pure simple joy? Joy comes from the little things in life: playing with a dog, spending time with our kids, going to a Broadway show with sorority sisters. These also are playful, connecting, and engaging flow.
That leaves peace. What do I do for fun that also brings me peace? I love to sit and watch the sunset over Lake Michigan. Waking up to a beautiful sunrise. Practicing Restorative Yoga at home, beside my fireplace with my honey and the cats and the dog. Yes, these are playful, connecting (with my Self and with Spirit) and they always go way too fast.
Back to the Signs
So, why so many signs that I need to have more fun? I feel like my life is filled with fun.
Perhaps it was just a reminder to engage in all areas of fun. I engage regularly in the first two. I am so grateful that my work is fun as I know many who live paycheck to paycheck and at a job they do not consider fun. Being healthy is a choice and I choose to be healthy in a fun way! Mark and I did take dance classes years ago and it’s on my list for us to take some cooking classes at a local place here in St Joe.
But doing things that bring me joy and peace? I do those, but they tend to be less regular, less often and I think for 2023 that needs to change. The change started, but I think the signs were reminding me and ensuring me, that they become more frequent and consistent.
Tonight looks like it may be a perfect sunset. I think I’ll take a drive to the lake with Mark and Ciara and find joy and peace this evening.
Need some inspiration to have more fun in your life? Check out the Free 7-Day MindShift! Shifting your thoughts so that you can have more fun!