Here are 2 main facts about having fun:
- People tend to have fun in short bursts. (You schedule a time for your hobbies.)
- It lifts your mood for an X amount of time before settling back down to your “normal” state.
We know what having fun feels like — what it does to the body when you’re doing something you enjoy (within reason, without harming yourself or others).
You come alive.
You may get a short burst of adrenaline. Your senses are heightened, becoming more sensitive to everything else. Your mood is lifted, your walk is lighter, and your blood is warmer. Endorphins are pumping your body and you feel, mostly, love.
But it doesn’t last long once the “fun” ends. You come down from that high eventually as you settle back into your routine.
And there lies the problem.
Fun Is Designated Rather Than Integrated
We’re expected to live our lives and schedule in fun separately. We’re told to be serious and take responsibility for the rest of the time, which is around 80% of your life.
It is the limited and short sessions of fun that cause people to become anxious, depressed, unloved.
There is a lack of a “play” attitude in our day-to-day lives.
We are told that there are times to do what you want to do and times to do what you must do. The must-dos are not supposed to be fun.
“Work hard, play hard.”
People get told while growing up that there is a face you put on when you’re around one group of people and another (usually, your actual self) when you’re with friends/loved ones. You feel you must act a certain way in certain situations and then act yourself when you’re having your scheduled in fun time.
In actual fact, we are taught from a young age to deprive ourselves of the enjoyment of life. We learn to contain overt excitement or enthusiasm during times when we are expected to be serious because it makes us look more responsible, and thus, more trustworthy. Eventually, that becomes our normal and our expectation of others, too.
Being excited and having fun is interpreted as childish. Why do you think Christmas is more fun when there are kids around?
Laughing too loudly in public is questionable. Trust me, I know, because I have been the giggler at the worst time, and I have received the looks and the eye-rolls from strangers and even the people I was with (except my sister, she’ll out-laugh me because she’s awesome).
Since when does having fun mean you’re not responsible or serious, though?
Having Fun is Serious Business
I was asked to help run an art project at work in conjunction with other organisations and an artist. However, I couldn’t make all the sessions because there were other pressing things in my job.
This is exactly where I learned the lesson that fun is just not prioritised when it should be. However, the sessions I did make were amazing. The team building, the topics discussed with the artists and participants, the experience I took with me, I will never forget.
It was a time where fun was allowed at work, and it triggered the thoughts in me that all aspects of my job were supposed to be fun. And they were, to a certain extent — but I couldn’t show it too much.
Imagine you could have fun all the time.
The only reason we see a big chunk of our lives as boring or stressful is that our generations before us, the society we grow up in, and our loved ones, display those feelings to us. If they had a positive outlook on the otherwise stressful or boring things, we would too.
But we aren’t playing a blaming game here, so there is no need to turn that knowledge into a bitter feeling of resentment. The point is to learn from this article by changing your outlook on the rest of your life regardless of what anyone else (including your boss or your family) thinks, and just incorporate fun into your boring areas of life.
If you’re still bringing results at work, they will love you. If they don’t, then maybe you need to reassess your career choices and consider making some changes.
Having fun is contagious. Your family will see the happiness in you and maybe even adopt it.
The “work to live” mentality doesn’t work because we are also living while we work.
The “live to work” attitude fails too because there is more to life than your work, even if you realise your dreams working the perfect job.
The saying should be “Just Live”.
Seek ways to have fun during those boring times.
Imagine a world where you don’t just look forward to the next fun session you have planned on the weekend or holiday. Imagine you just wake up and have fun living.
Just doing should equal fun all the time.
Visualise the life you want. Waking up and doing the whole day what you love to do.
Imagine being in a good mood and refusing anything to bother you for the whole day.
Is this possible?
Of course it is.
You control your feelings — you choose to let exterior forces of the world make you act one way or another. You can if you want to choose to have fun throughout the day.
How, Sylvia, does this cheesy life come to magically be?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
We are supposed to feel grateful for the basics. When we enjoy the small things we are having fun. Fun can be incorporated into our day-to-day lives, all the time.
Granted there are different types of fun — I don’t get an adrenaline rush from going for a walk with my son, but I absolutely love doing it and I feel genuinely happy — and that’s the goal.
Fun is short-term happiness because that’s what we have moulded fun to be. But it could be long-term happiness if those short bursts of fun were accumulated throughout the entire day.
Just do what is fun to you — while at work, on the bus, in a meeting. Happiness radiates happiness so while you may get a few looks from strangers for laughing too loudly, they’ll eventually be smiling too.
My son gets excited when he sees a train go by. I too now look forward to seeing the train go past. It is actually fun.
I have fun when I’m doing the housework because I see my son spending time with his dad and getting up to so much mischief.
I have fun when I’m cooking because I’m imagining how good it’s going to taste. I imagine my son’s face full of pasta sauce.
I enjoy writing because my thoughts run wild and my ideas sometimes amaze me.
I love reading because it means I’m absorbing knowledge.
There is fun everywhere, you just have to look.
I will finish on this note – remember how you as a kid had fun. Remember feeling genuinely excited to go out with your friends and play. At what point did you stop feeling it?
I want to keep that exaggerated excitement alive in my son. My father said to him on his visit here a couple of months ago, “Andriel, I hope you will stay this happy.”
Don’t worry Papá, I plan on maintaining that shining light within me so I can lead by example.
My son will help redefine fun with his “just live” attitude.
Thanks to me and his dad, Andriel will love enjoying life.
You can choose to love enjoying your life too, if not for your sake, your children’s.
Sylvia Emokpae, thinker and philosopher, is passionate about self-love, motherhood, and pro-race. See more work like this.
Previously published on medium
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Photo credit: Thanks to You X Ventures for sharing their work on Unsplash.