The vagaries of life can teach us much. Steven Lake had a serious accident that brought a new level of fun into his life.
Can relationships be fun and playful? When I first met my wife I really wasn’t thinking about having fun. I was more intrigued with the passion that was generated between the two of us. Once we decided to move in together we got down to the daily grind of living, making money, and moving ahead with our lives.
Sure, we had fun when we went to a movie, or to a party, or when we were travelling.
But were we being playful with each other? Yes we were having fun, at specific times, and under specific circumstances, and in specific ways. But was the relationship fun and playful? I was getting my graduate degrees for many, many, years and I think I had become pretty serious.
My wife thinks I’m very funny, but I don’t know how often I was funny. Not only was I continuing my education, I was also managing properties and working part-time in a maximum security prison hospital. That’s a lot of running around and a lot of stress. What was I like in my relationship? I don’t think I was as fun and playful as I could have been, that’s for sure.
It’s not that easy to have a lot of fun when you’re stressed. The time we had the most fun was when travelling. Being away from all the stressors opened us up to our intrinsic nature which was to have fun and be playful with each other. Many years passed, and finally graduate school ended. We moved away from the university town and re-started our lives in another city.
We went through the stress of finding a new place to live, finding jobs, and reconnecting with old friends. We were now in the city we loved, living close to the beach, clean air, bicycle paths, and easy access to the mountains.
We settled into our new lives. One of our main pleasures became eating out. Over time we became foodies. This was fun.
I consider myself a fun guy. I have lots of energy, playful, spontaneous, and always up for a good time. Recently, I had a serious (there’s that word again) skiing accident. During the recovery period, for whatever reason, I became playful and fun in a whole new way. This accident is less than a month old, and maybe this sense of fun I have tapped, is within myself. I realized I was not living with my partner in a way that was consistent with my self-image.
Somehow, this accident became an opportunity for me to see the difference between how I thought I was living my life and how I was actually living my life. At one level, this was a slap in the face. A wake-up call, even though I was very happy to discover a whole new level of playfulness and fun. I am a little surprised that I had not seen how minimalistic my expression of fun had become.
For those of you who have read my earlier writings, I mentioned that my wife had called me “grumpy.” That was a surprise to hear. I did take her observation into account and became more conscious of my grumpiness and made changes. In this post-accident recovery there was a realization that another level of fun and playfulness was available.
What was it that accounted for this change? Was it letting go of work? Was it having nothing to do but just take time to heal? Was it spending more time with my partner? Was it not being able to control my environment?
Was it having to rely on my partner because of my incapacitation?
I am not sure of the answer, yet. But I do know that I certainly love the experience. I was lighter and more playful on a daily basis than ever before in my life. One of the consequences of this new way of being was an enhancement of our relationship. I was in touch with my love for my partner multiple times during the day. Maybe, needing her assistance made me appreciate the time and effort she was taking in looking after me. Whatever it was, I was more playful than ever.
I am slowly healing. I am back at work, and because of the surgery I am in constant but low-level pain. I know there is a part of me wanting to get grumpy. I actively fight this feeling because staying in the state of appreciation for my partner and having fun is a lot more appealing.
Other than the accident, my external circumstances have not changed, but my experience of reality has shifted in a fundamental way. I am experiencing joy on a day-to-day basis for the last four weeks. This joy has revolved around my partner. Whether we’re watching TV, going for a walk, or just eating a meal together. There is a vibration and sense of excitement emanating from my heart.
This of course makes me very excited about our relationship. And about life. Maybe life is not about how much money I have, what I think about my level of success, or even about the relationship itself. Maybe, it is just being in touch with the joyful part within myself. When I come from this joyful state I am indeed looking at life through rose colored glasses and this is a good thing.
I realize that up to now I was waiting on external circumstances, and my partner, to engage with me in such a way that I could say “life is fun.”
Now, being in touch with my internal state of joy, and engaging with life and my partner from this place, is the only way that brings an abundance of fun into my life on a consistent basis. I think it is what the French call, joie de vivre.
Also by Steven Lake
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