[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”16″ align=”left”]Fun is good. – Dr. Seuss[/mk_blockquote]
Running in circles around the yard with the dog at your heels. Flying high on a rope swing. Swimming just because it feels good to be in the water. Digging a huge hole in the sand. Singing at the top of your lungs in the shower. Losing an entire afternoon reading a good book or playing a video game. Dancing in the kitchen while waiting for dinner.
Sure. All the above are things my kids do to have fun. But, here’s the thing – except for video games (which simply escape me), these are all things that leave me smiling, energized, de-stressed and happy, too. In short, these are also all ways I have fun.
Only, until very recently, I’d kind of forgotten about fun. Life had gotten busy beyond busy. My days felt squeezed. My hours were jam-packed with things that needed to get done. Business was booming, but life was squished. I was regularly collapsing into bed thinking wistfully about the day that had passed – wishing it had been different, wishing for a do-over, wishing for a chance to meander through moments that I had instead chosen to sprint through.
There was so much to do, there was simply no time for fun. I was more likely to bark at my dog than to play with him. My daily reading had dropped off to roughly three pages of a People magazine before falling asleep. I wasn’t dancing in the kitchen because I was making lists, returning calls and helping with homework all while I cooked and tried to pull myself together to go teach a yoga class.
This went on for a very long time. In the beginning, adrenaline fed me. Then, I relied on sheer stamina. Then, it was will power. Then, I was simply very, very tired. I turned to a trusted mentor and said, “Why am I so tired? I don’t get tired. I am efficient. I am productive. I get stuff done.” She just looked at me. I said in a smaller voice, “I have to get the stuff done.”
Her response threw me for a loop. “You need to have fun.” My confusion must have shown because she repeated herself. “You need to schedule something fun every day.” And, as if she was reading my mind, she continued, “And it can’t be yoga.”
You see, I took my hobby and turned it into my profession. I’m incredibly fortunate that this is the case. I love my work. I am passionate about it. I believe it is a positive gift I am able to give the world. It energizes me, it fascinates me, it challenges me. I read about yoga all the time. I think about yoga all the time. I spend most of my time on social media combing through more yoga information. My job is not just my passion, it is fun. But this isn’t the kind of fun she was talking about. When people get stressed or busy or overwhelmed, the first things they tend to give up are the things they enjoy – the things they do for fun. I hadn’t given up yoga. Instead, I was clinging to my yoga practice like a life preserver on high seas. (Which it actually has been for as long as I can remember.)
What had I given up during this long, busy time? To be perfectly honest with you, three weeks into my experiment with fun, I’m still trying to remember. Gardening. Cooking anything that requires more than two pots. Skiing. Reading actual books. Playing the piano. Hiking. Sewing. Throwing dinner parties. Decorating my house. Some of these old hobbies still interest me. Some, not so much. It’s been helpful to remember all the ways I used to add fun into my days, but, mostly, doing so has revealed that I’m not interested in recreating an old version of me. I’m much more interested in figuring out what this version of me finds fun. And that, in and of itself, has been fun.
I’ve started small. My daughter and I tuned back into a TV series we’d drifted away from. I’ve been cooking dinner (still haven’t gone back to anything complicated) to eat as a family as many nights as is possible each week. Better yet, I’ve been staying at the table until the last child is done eating. I rededicated myself to a weekly crack-of-dawn walk with a friend. I asked my son to teach me how to make a playlist on my i-phone — and have made three so far! I cleaned the bird feeders and have been happily watching dozens of birds flutter around my yard from my office and kitchen windows. I’ve been trying to say “yes” – and, as a result, have seen “Cinderella,” been to the aquarium, driven to my son’s top two college picks just so he could see them one more time, met friends for dinner despite an early wake-up call the next morning, and curled up in front of the fireplace to read with my husband rather than shoveling the still-falling snow.
Is scheduling a little fun into each of my days working? You know, it is.
I’m laughing and smiling more. I am tired less. Not only is having fun, well, fun, but it seems to be helping me to take my life less seriously. I am actually enjoying my work more. I am actually enjoying my yoga practice more. I feel a little brighter and a little lighter. I’ve even caught myself looking for elements of fun in the mundane things I have to do. While I have yet to find anything fun about doing the laundry, I did buy a different detergent because it smelled good. I have sincerely enjoyed many of the moments of the endless driving I do as a mom. I have caught myself dancing in the kitchen (to one of my new playlists) while I waited for the pot to boil. I have even found myself laughing at my crazy cat as she “helps” (read: slows progress to a stand-still) me put sheets on the beds. It turns out that having fun and getting stuff done are not mutually exclusive.
What about you? Are you remembering to have a little fun every day? Go ahead. It really is good for you.