Inside: Tips on how to have fun again. In case you’ve forgotten.
Fun. Do You Have It?
I recently started meditating again. (Because that’s what the therapist said to do.)
No rushing to my computer first thing in the morning. No checking emails. Or scrolling through my phone. Instead, the first thing I do is sit in quiet in my living room, and meditate.
The other day, I sat in stillness, trying to quiet my busy mind. Suddenly, I saw the word “Fun.”
Did you ever watch Sesame Street as a kid? Do you remember how big letters and words would come flying towards you on the television screen?
Well, it was like that. The word “FUN” sped towards me in my mind, then it was gone.
I let that image come and then go, as you are supposed to do when mediating. But when my meditation time was up, I revisited Fun and thought about why that came up.
It made me wonder: Am I having enough fun? Should I be having more fun in my life? Have I forgotten how to have fun?
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Do You Know How to Have Fun?
It didn’t take long for me to admit that no, I haven’t been having a lot of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I do have fun sometimes. But when I think about it, I realize it’s scheduled and not spontaneous.
I’m only letting myself have fun when I give myself permission. It’s like I don’t allow it in my life unless I feel like I deserve it. Or like I’ve done enough.
What about you? Are you having fun? Do you find you’ve forgotten to have fun, too? Are you bogged down trying to meet expectations, please everyone, and achieve perfection?
Are you so busy checking things off your list that having fun is an afterthought?
When we were kids, we had fun all of the time. Why did we stop?
Since when does having a good time have to be planned? Why don’t we see life as an opportunity for enjoyment? Shouldn’t we be approaching every day with the intent to have more joy in our lives?
Is it crazy to think that you can have fun in regular day-to-day duties and activities?
The message from meditation was clear. I needed to explore this more. Particularly, how to have fun without a plan. Without an agenda.
So I decided to take the day for intentional yet simple fun.
An Experiment with My Day
For a while now, I’ve been aware that cultivating joy in my life is an intentional practice. And I’ve been doing a pretty good job if finding joy in all things, big and small.
But I haven’t given much thought to merriment, which feels a bit different: How can I implement this practice so that it feels effortless?
That day, I conducted a little experiment. I would go out with the specific intent of having fun in all I did. Attitude, emotion, and action. I would approach my day with a fun filter, and just see how things went.
My goal to simply enjoy my day with a happy heart: to be open to the experience. Work through the resistance, fears, and hesitancy surrounding a day where I wasn’t “getting things done.”
Here’s how it went down:
It Helps When You Open Up
First, I set the intention for the day: to simply have a good time no matter what I was doing. I told myself I would be open to joy and lightheartedness.
(Not a simple task for someone by nature is cautious, careful, and somewhat leery.)
I approached the day with the same carefree spirit of my daughter; seeing the world through creativity and play.
That meant taking a lighthearted approach. Smiling at people. Noticing the beauty in little things like the sunshine and mild breeze.
I didn’t rush about. Instead, I took things at an easy pace. I made eye contact with people and smiled a lot. I looked for evidence of fun in the day.
Look for Evidence of Fun
What does that mean? Well, I believe that if we look for them, we get signs and messages. From God, or the universe, or our intuition. Whatever you want to call it, if you believe in that.
I do. And I trust that when we are searching for a deeper meaning, or answers, what we are looking for shows up.
Sometimes subtly. Sometimes like a smack in the face. (Like big alphabet letters rushing at you.)
Or, like an email.
After I decided to approach the day with this little experiment, I quickly scanned my email. I get a ton of email daily because I have bright, shiny object syndrome and I sign up for ALL THE THINGS.
I don’t read every email every day. I just pick and choose what catches my attention.
But that morning, I happened to open up an email from Melissa at the Morning Mind Love Podcast.
Hello, somebody! Was that a clear message, or what?
I didn’t open up the email thinking that it would a message about lightening up and having more fun. But that’s exactly what I received.
I love synchronicity. So I got a good giggle, took that as a sign and got ready for my day.
How to Actually Have Fun
“Okay,” you’re probably asking, “that sounds woo-woo and great. But how do you actually have more fun in your life?”
Here’s what I’m finally learning:
You make your own fun. You create it.
And you can have it even focusing on the simplest things.
Yes, the typical activities, like vacations, holidays, roller coasters (if you’re one of those people,) cheering for your favorite team, watching your favorite singer or band, are obvious examples.
But what about the little things? They can be are a blast, too, if you are open.
Find Simple Things To Do and Enjoy Them
These are some simple things I did that day that brought a lot of joy:
I went to the mall (before it became crazy busy with Christmas shoppers) and meandered around. I didn’t have an agenda or a timeframe.
I took in the Christmas music and festive decorations like I was seeing and hearing it for the first time.
I reminisced about my childhood and growing up in the ’80s in the era of “The Mall.”
I smelled bath calming bath bombs and sampled creamy, indulgent hand creams.
I watched little kids playing gleefully in the play area while tired moms watched.
When employees tried to talk to me in the stores, I didn’t duck and run. (I’m an introvert.) I stayed present and open.
I bought Henna hair color in a deep, rich auburn because it felt creative and bold.
And while browsing around in a store I’ve never been to, I got another sign:
Have More Fun by Mandy Arioto
Seriously. I have never heard of this book…never heard of the author. Yet here was another message.
I laughed out loud in the store. And then I snagged a copy for myself. Because when God winks, you take note.
After the mall, I drove to our quaint little downtown area. On the way, I sang and danced in my car to the radio.
Again, I walked and window shopped, strolling in and out of the stores. I even joked around with one of the owners like one of those extroverted people would do.
Not only did I survive, but I enjoyed it.
Because it was a beautiful, sunny day with temps in the high 50s, I stopped in at a rooftop restaurant for an impromptu lunch.
I sat on the rooftop patio and ate while I wrote all my thoughts about how to have more fun in a journal. Then I just sat back and watched the people and cars go by on the street below.
Basically, I slowed the hell down. Sometimes, that’s just what you gotta do.
It was an awesome day.
What’s the Point of all This Talk About Fun?
Does it seem frivolous that I’m writing about how to have fun? Aren’t there more important things to be sharing and writing about? Bigger problems to solve? Is it selfish to want more fun?
No. Maybe. Yes. And no.
Friends, we are here to enjoy our lives. Yes, there are big problems out there. Sad things. Sometimes, I can’t even watch the news without crying.
But still, we should be happy. We deserve to be happy. For a long time, I felt like I shouldn’t feel happy. I wanted to have a fun and happy life. And don’t misunderstand me, I’ve had a really good life. A great life.
But even though its’ been a very good and comfortable life with many happy times, in some ways I’m still operating on auto-pilot.
Sometimes, I feel like it’s a half-lived life. Because I don’t always fully embrace fun and happiness.
Having fun isn’t selfish, or trivial, or irresponsible. Having fun is a beautiful thing!
I had a boss once who was a walking, talking, ball of fun. He made everyone around him laugh and smile. He made work fun. Even budgeting. That’s a gift, for sure.
He taught me that having fun isn’t about spending a ton of money on things or experiences. It’s how you approach your life.
And not only does fun make things more enjoyable, but there are benefits to having fun.
Six Quick Benefits of Having More Fun In Your Life
- Reduces stress
- Keeps you young at heart
- Improves relationships
- Helps you to connect with others
- Lifts your mood and spirit
- Improves creativity
What Can You Do To Have Fun?
Think back to what you liked to do as a kid. What was fun? Was it coloring, acting, riding a bike? Exploring nature? Writing?
- Explore new things. Even the act of trying something new can be fun. Ultimately, that thing may not be for you. Trying new things opens up doors to new paths and creativity.
- Get involved in something. Find an interest group. Or a Charity. Join a civic organization. Or a knitting club. Whatever you think might float your boat. Meeting people can be fun and so is expanding your horizons.
- Be open. Just opening up to the possibilities adds fun to your life. Appreciating the day and getting excited to see what it brings can be fun.
Discover Your Play Personality
One way to have more fun in your life is to explore your play personality.
Dr. Stuart Brown wrote about a book: Play – How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.
In the book, Dr. Brown discusses eight play personalities based on neuroscience and natural behaviors. The play personalities are outlined below.
Do you see yourself in any of these?
- The Joker – loves making people laugh, being silly and goofy, joking around, pulling pranks. Often the “class clown” type in a group.
- The Kinesthete – plays through movement. This group is not just about sports, but may also find joy in dancing, walking, hiking, or running. They love physical activity.
- The Explorer – explores the world around them and discovers new things. Exploration can be physical, mental or emotional.
- The Competitor – Winning is fun for the competitor. They enjoy playing games (whether alone or with others), watching the competition, setting goals and beating records.
- The Director – Planning and organizing, the directors lover to take the lead.
- The Collector – Loves to find beautiful and interesting things and curate collections of items that inspire them.
- The Artist/Creator – Loves creating and making things. Painting, drawing, sculpting, gardening, or even restoring items are fun activities for them.
- The Storyteller – Story and imagination are fun for the storyteller. Performing, sharing stories (through telling or writing,) or simply experiencing story through books, movies, and plays.
These play personalities are simply a way for you to explore how you are wired to play.
I took an online quiz and got “The Storyteller.” but just reading through the eight personalities, I see myself in several others.
It’s Your Turn – Go Have More Fun
My day of fun was a great reminder that I can have fun every day.
So can you. You can have fun by yourself. Or at home alone. You can even have fun at the grocery store.
My day reminded me that Fun is a mindset. It’s an attitude. You can find fun in the most simple and basic things if you’re open.
Resources for Having More Fun
Play is More Than Fun by Dr. Stuart Brown
How to Have More Fun in Your Life by Matt Weinstein
Fun, How it Can Improve Life, Work, and Behavior by Gabriel Barker
Have More Fun by Mand Arioto
Play – How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Dr. Stuart Brown
Love Does by Bob Goff