Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fun what is it good for (read to the tune of "war! what is it good for?")

by Gretchen Rubin - buy it here

Recently I've been thinking about the concept of Fun and what precisely "having fun" means to me in application in my life. I'm not completely losing it, don't worry, these ponderings have been sparked by the fact that I am reading The Happiness Project and Gretchen Rubin devotes a large portion to exploring the concept of fun and what fun means to her.

Fun. Hmm. What a novel concept! Or is it? Do I have to stop striving to have FUN just because I'm an Official Adult with an Official Mortgage and an Official Car Payment every month (not to mention my very Official Husband and Official Child pulling on my leg 23 out of 24 hours a day)? Does Fun have to get put on the back burner just because I have bathrooms to scrub and laundry piled up or because I legitimately enjoy Real Grown Up Things such as discussions about what the government's social responsibility is towards student loan forgiveness (especially when considered in relationship to the unemployment rate) or things like the role that the media plays in defining adolescent girl's sense of self? Do these hallmarks of adulthood prohibit me from prioritizing the implementation of Fun as an actual priority in my life? Previously I would have maybe shrugged my shoulders and said something like, "well, fun isn't really a top priority, is it?"

But that's hogwash I say! (and just to prove how much I've changed already I used the word "hogwash" which is a fun thing to say, especially in declarative statements as I've used it here)

But what IS Fun anyway? What does it even MEAN?

Gretchen Rubin suggests throwing out all of your otherwise preconceived notions of fun and to just figure out what is actually fun to you. I liked that and I found it interesting to consider what is ACTUALLY fun - not just what I feel that I should enjoy.

I remember when I was younger I went through a similar revelation. I had recently gotten out of a serious long term relationship and I found myself asking, "What do I like to do?" For so many years my free time and interests had been all wrapped up in this guy I had been dating that I hadn't really stopped to wonder if I was doing things that I enjoyed. Turns out, I wasn't.

I started exploring who I was without him. What movies did I like? What music? How did I want to spend my time on the weekends or after work and school?

It was an interesting endeavor to walk down that path of discovering who I was as an independent individual. In fact, that journey was what shaped me into the person I am today. For the first time in my life I was willing to be single and free and to determine what all of that meant.

But now that I am a mother, this whole concept of fun takes on a new meaning for me. I'm back in the thick of it again: being all wrapped up in someone else 24/7 to the point that I've forgotten about myself (at least this time the guy I'm all wrapped up in is my beautiful and perfect son and not some douchebag).

But still, the pattern repeating itself is not lost on me and I've received the message loud and clear: I have to make time for ME again because I'm forgetting who I am and what I like. Turns out, when I have a few free minutes, I don't really wanna turn on Sid the Science Kid or start building a giant pyramid with Duplos. Hard to believe, I know.

I just have found that I spend my days so busy and, really, so obsessed with taking care of other people that I don't even stop to think about what might be fun for me. Fun? I snort at the idea and roll my eyes. Who has time for fun?

Well, the truth is - I do. I must. If I don't remember to make time for fun, there will be no point to life and I will end up feeling resentful and depressed and then I'll be cranky and mean and that's just a no-good combo for any of us. Trust me.

So fun. What do I find to be fun?

I started by doing something that I find Fun that most people probably don't (see? I'm a quick learner): I made a list.

I was surprised by how easy the list came to me. It all just poured forward without much thought and I was excited about that and about all of the ways that I could still have fun. I sat there typing my list on my iPhone in the dark with my son sleeping next to me and I even kind of giggled to myself at the end of it. I've still got it. I can still have Fun.

So here it is, my list of things that I think are Fun. It's still evolving and growing and I'm still not 100% sure that I'm going to even do anything with it but for now, it's exciting to me that I'm even thinking about this and that I even am bothering to stop and wonder how I'm going to integrate My Idea of Fun into my life. This is progress, people. This truly is progress.

oh, and disclaimer: please don't judge me on my list. Some of it is hopelessly self-serving or consumer-obsessed. Just let that part go. What are my ideas of fun:

- Photography: both taking and editing photos
- Reading a good book on the couch for hours
- Taking a bath
- Going to the theater and seeing live plays and performances
- Watching stand up comedy
- Going out with girlfriends and gossiping and laughing while drinking wine
- Zumba I think
- Doing art projects: painting, decorating t-shirts, coloring, making posters, drawing, etc.
- Listening to NPR - specifically Fresh Air with Terri Gross and This American Life
- Writing persuasive arguments and essays
- Reading and editing other people's work
- Public speaking about a topic I know about and am well versed in
- New agey kinds of seminars
- Going to therapy
- Reading self help books
- Blogging and interacting with people online
- Funny websites and memes (lol cats, cakewrecks, autocorrect fail, I waste so much time, hey girl etc.)
- Reading and finding out other people's secrets (post secret etc)
- Looking through family photographs; doesn't even have to be my family
- Singing songs with Henry and playing games with him. Running around the park and just laughing together in general
- Staying within my weight watchers points. It's a game
- Board games (but not monopoly really)
- Card games especially spades
- Walks on the beach
- Long philosophical talks
- Listening to Wayne Dyre and a ton of other spiritual/motivational people
- Going shopping and buying new clothes! best ever
- Getting new electronic things: phones, computers, iPads etc. I love the first few days of using them
- Playing video games. Omg the best.
- Talking on the phone with a good friend
- Exchanging emails with someone
- Battle of Wits with my husband
- Picking out cute outfits for Henry
- Cleaning small objects that dont usually get cleaned.
- Putting on makeup
- Driving a car with the sunroof open while wearing sunglasses
- Getting a new purse. Especially if it's fancy or designer
- Markers. Writing in markers. Especially if they're sharpies.
- Giving gifts, planning gifts, making gifts and wrapping gifts
- Writing meaningful cards for people
- Buying small presents for people for no reason
- Planning big parties and events
- Decorating my house
- Baking and cooking - ESPECIALLY vegan baking
- Making slideshows set to music
- Birth photography
- Watching chick-flicks
- Eating chocolate
- Eating cake
- Going out for a fancy dinner

So there it is. My super-duper long list.

Please share yours with me too. What do YOU like to do for Fun? Do you think you can find some time to make Fun an actual real priority in your life? I hope so! I really do. For me, too.


Dani said...

That is a great list! I think that this is going to be something that I do to because I need to start having fun and doing something for me.

Do you recommend the book that you are reading? I am always looking for good books to read.

Raquel said...

I bought that book ages ago and added it to my "Read, eventually" pile. I need to actually read it! Love that you made a list of what you find fun. I'm the same way when it comes to lists... lists make me happy. I've started a new project where I prepare my to-do lists the night before, and I also break up my to-do list into "Have to do," "Should do," and "Want to do." This is a good way to figure out your priorities! (PS: I'm learning that the "Want to do" list is most fulfilling and best for my soul.)

Love to read your revelations of how you are working to get to know yourself and fulfill yourself. It makes a lot of sense to me.