Having more fun in life has not been one of my priorities and throughout my teens and adulthood I’ve poured my energy into working and accomplishing.
I’ve reaped benefits from this “work hard” behaviour (or habit?): approval, acceptance, and accolades.
But I don’t want to continue this way because the above rewards aren’t as important to me now. I long to experience life differently.
Having fun isn’t my default
Just as I’ve written previously about taking time to rest being hard, having fun is not something that comes naturally to me–yet! Working, overworking, and producing have come easily. They’ve been my go-tos and automatic behaviours for decades.
I was reassured to hear Dr. Lori Santos, host of The Happiness Lab podcast, speak about her challenges with having fun. Ok, phew, it isn’t just me. In that episode, she had a captivating conversation with Catherine Price, author of “The Power of Fun“.
I felt a bit silly when, recently, I checked out that book from the library. Surely,”normal people” don’t have to read about how to have fun??
In Price’s book, she invites her readers to do a fun audit. I had a laugh at myself when answering questions such as these:
- I prioritize fun.
- I know what fun is to me.
- Friends think of me as a fun person.
- I know the characteristics of experiences that make me feel fun.
- I always have something to look forward to.
- I make things fun for me and for others.
- I experience delight regularly.
You can guess how I scored 😳!
Do I feel proud about not knowing how to have fun?
The question “Am I (secretly) proud of my overworking ways/life?” has been niggling away at me. Am I humble-bragging about being a workaholic? The answer is complicated: I do feel good about my ability to be responsible, reliable, focussed, and goal-oriented. These are values and characteristics I’ve adopted and practicing these has led to meaningful accomplishments (in the areas of education, family and career). Furthermore, in our culture which valorizes productivity, I have been repeatedly praised for having a strong work ethic.
What does having more fun in life mean to me?
Price dedicates a portion of her book to defining fun and describes it as inhabiting the intersection of playfulness, connection and flow. She calls this space “True Fun” (if you’re craving details, read her book).
For me, the definition and specifics are less important than facilitating the transition–from overwork as my default, to questioning my choices and decisions, to intentionally choosing fun more often.
Thankfully, summer makes having more fun in life easy because I love to hike, camp and be outdoors. But, I don’t yet have fulsome answer to “What does fun mean to me?” I’m figuring it out.