We’re emerging from the wild ride that is otherwise known as the “holiday season” here in the West. The transition that happens from lazy summer days to fall pumpkin-spiced lattes seems to happen in a blink of an eye; making it easy to forget to stop and take some time to reflect and recharge.
Like many people at the turn of a new year, I make resolutions or affirmations about how I’d like to live life for the following 365 days. Everything needs balance, and on my plate there was far too much seriousness and practicality. I realized, after much introspection, that I was living life but I wasn’t enjoying it so much. I was coming out of a depression and knew that if I wanted to heal completely, I was going to have to make more time for playfulness and frivolity. Last year, I made the choice to #HaveMoreFun.
You’d think that having fun or looking for ways to do it wouldn’t be hard. It’s fun after all. Doesn’t everyone like fun? Sure, if it’s something they’re used to. Even more so if it’s something they haven’t denied themselves in an effort to gain something seemingly more beneficial. “I’ll have fun later” was a common refrain in my head. “Fun is a distraction;” “If I want to succeed I have to maintain focus;” “Playing means I could be doing something productive,” and so on. It’s obvious to me now how terrible this thinking is as a way of living, but I’d have had no argument with it just a year ago. Nearly a decade of thinking like that left me in tatters mentally, and was starting to take a toll on me physically.
What was the point of putting off fun or happiness
if I also hadn’t attained my vision of success?
What was the point if I had reached those goals and was still miserable? Would I even remember how to have fun or would I just keep on working to some other new goal? It wasn’t that life was passing me by; I enjoyed things along the way, but there was much I missed out on or flat out denied myself when there was no need. The only thing I gained was depression, resentment, and wondering if this was all there was to life.
Having fun — making fun — was something I had to practice doing again.
It was so obvious how starved I was for it, loudly declaring, “This is FUN! We’re having FUN!” to my friends randomly in whatever exciting thing we were doing. They’d laugh, but they all knew that it was important for me to recognize it, embrace it, and seek it again as often as I could. I’ve had a lot of support in my quest for more fun. Luckily, it’s not hard to get most people to come out to play with you. I was glad to finally begin to shake my stick in the mud reputation.
It’s not to say I’ve given up practicality for a completely carefree approach to life. I am more spontaneous, but I still have to plan most of my fun. Life has a lot of hard places to navigate through, with the ebb and flow of uncertainty being a natural part of it; but there’s still room to enjoy it. Having fun with my friends and making a life from those happy shenanigans has replaced my old “fun is a distraction” mantra. I can say unequivocally that this is approach is much better.
Fun is necessary for good living so I implore you to take a look around at what you’ve been up to, and make sure there is fun along the way. Find the fun whenever and wherever you can. You’re allowed to have it and you deserve to have it.
Let us know what fun things you’re up to across social media with #FindTheFun2020!
Cover Image: Emma Matthews