I was having a conversation with a friend recently about fun. The gist of the conversation was that he needs to have more.
In the course of our conversation we identified some different kinds of fun. I asked him what gave him an endorphin rush. He replied that it happened at work when something just fell together perfectly. I then asked for another example and he cited a recent vacation experience of being on a mountain. So, we had a job satisfaction event and a vacation event. I then asked when the last was he got an endorphin rush within the four walls of his home, something in his daily life. He couldn’t remember.
All of this caused me to start thinking about fun. Who has it? Who doesn’t? Why? How do you get it? Why do you want it?
We want fun because its… well… fun. Having fun releases all sorts of wonderful chemicals that cause us to feel better and reduce stress, which literally kills us.
Who has it and who doesn’t? I’m not sure about that for everyone. I can only use my own experience as an example. I have a lot of fun. That’s not to say every day is perfect – it’s not, by a long shot. But, I still find fun and humor in most situations. Why? Because I feel better when I do. How? By years of training myself to do it. It’s not that it’s always the most natural thing. But, like anything, once you get started, it’s easy to keep going. The physics of inertia applies whether you’re laughing and then laughing more, or being sullen and then more sullen. So, over the years I’ve tried to make myself see humor in situations and compound that instead of the opposite.
What makes that easier? The people around you. I’m blessed to be surrounded by people who, by and large, see the bright side. Did that just happen by accident? Absolutely not. These are the people I have sought out, built relationships with, cultivated as friends. And that is not a dirty word. We are all cultivating relationships all the time. All relationships take time and energy and you’ve got to be willing to give some of both.
By the same token, I eschew all drama queens, negative Nellies, crazymakers and what I call the vortexes. Those are the people who want to draw you into the vortexes of their lives and suck you dry of energy. They somehow seem to think that you will bring them fun, without them having to do anything. Obviously, people have a right to be however they want to be. I’m just saying I can’t have people in my world who fall into any of these categories because they are the antithesis of fun. They are not having much fun, and they don’t want you to have any either.
Not to be overlooked is that I also put a lot of energy into having fun. If you read this blog, you may have the impression that my life is one fun thing after another. Obviously, part of that is that I don’t write about running the dishwasher and doing the laundry. Rest assured, mine has to be done just like yours. The other part of that, which may not be so obvious, is that I continually put myself into situations where fun is likely to occur. I go to events, I attend lectures, I go to lunch with friends, I have conversation, I host gatherings, I visit art exhibits, I create events. My point is that I’m not just sitting at home waiting for fun to knock on my door. I’m actively seeking it out. Going away with friends this spring for a creative weekend was fun – but I planned it, found the place, invited the people, organized the financial part, etc. – it didn’t just happen. I wanted to do that event because of a 7 a.m. lecture I had attended where an author talked about her visioning book.
Another part of the equation is that I find fun in the small bits of daily life. Running out to Dillon Nature Center when Greg called to tell me about the odd rain was fun. Going outside early one morning when Trish called about the unusual light was fun. That fell more into the “wonder” category, but it is still part of the overall fun equation. Notice how those people play into the fun equation. I also seek fun when on my own. Painting in my studio, writing on the novel, taking a drive to Quivira, going out to eat with only an interesting book for company – all of these are fun of one sort or another.
Does fun require money? Some kinds of fun does. Some does not. In Hutchinson there are tons of free arts events to attend. The lecture about Hopi textiles I wrote about recently was completely free. Obviously, you have to have money to buy gas to get there, unless you’re close enough to walk. But, it would take less than a $1 worth of gas to drive there and back from almost anywhere in Hutchinson in any kind of vehicle. Your mileage may vary – literally and figuratively. I’m just using that as an example. Besides, some people can have fun without any outlay of cash at all.
When I did an exercise a couple of years ago to identify core values, and my core value was fun. This didn’t really surprise me, but it was a bit of a shock to everyone else. Having fun – enjoying life – is a driving force for me. I truly see no point in living if there’s no fun. Why would I want to do that? I, honestly, cannot wrap my mind around it. That’s not to say I expect every moment to be fun, but I expect life to have many fun bits.
This has all made me think about how others view fun. Is it important to you? How do you have fun? Do you have fun every day? Once a week? What is fun to you?
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