At the start of every year I choose a single word as my focus, my intention. My first thought was to make this my year of FUN. My heart delighted in choosing this word and I could feel myself yearn for more fun, yet I still second guessed my choice a moment. Didn’t I need something with a little more gravitas? Something bold and brave and empowering?
Then I realized that this hesitation is exactly why I needed to look at this.
In our society we place little important on fun. Throughout life we are bombarded with messages like:
“Don’t be silly”
“Act your age”
Various things or activities are labeled as “frivolous” or “childish”.
These messages squash the playful parts of us and carefully mold us into the cookie cutter personality of “Responsible Adult”. This starts long before we are adults though. I’ve heard 9 year old’s declare that they don’t want to play with dolls anymore because it’s “childish”. While that sounds sort of cute and sparks a smile, I now find myself thinking: “Oh please honey, give yourself the joy of this a little while longer.”
I can relate though. I was in a hurry to grow up too, always wanting to be older than I was. Along the way I put more and more emphasis on being responsible and play dropped to the background. And while I always made room for creativity, I often wanted to infuse it with more meaning by turning it into a business preferably donating the proceeds to charity. In so doing even things that started out as play became heavy with responsibility. This all work and little or no play made for heavy lifting, heavy living, and resulted in burnout after burnout.
Just as we need to change our approach to the planet before she runs out of resources and burns out, we need to shift to a more sustainable way of living on a personal level as well. Tend to our own resources before we burn out. Being burned out means that you’ve run out of fuel so completely the body starts to break down.
After my latest I knew something had to change. I had been living with a structurally empty tank. I needed to think about the things that would fill that tank back up. As I wrote recently I want to be full of myself in the sense that I am filled up. Replenished. Vital. Alive.
I asked myself: What fills me up?
Anything that brings me joy: Creativity. Play. Connection. In other words: All things fun.
To justify more creativity and play my solution in the past had been to “infuse it with more meaning”, but in so doing my solution had become part of the problem. I had made it heavy with responsibility, killing the fun in the process.
I don’t need to infuse play and fun with more meaning. It has plenty meaning. I just need to re-evaluate it, that is, place more value on it. Through our programming FUN has gotten this air of irresponsibility. Something to squeeze in after you’ve done the things that are really important. When in fact fun has tremendous value!
FUN makes us lighter and freer. FUN is where our souls delight. FUN replenishes us. FUN fuels us and fills us up, so when we’re faced with adversity in our own lives or that of another, we have a reserve to draw on. FUN is like money in the bank that covers our expenses. FUN along with rest, makes for the balance necessary to keep us moving in the direction of everything we want. So really:
Fun is fiercely important to live a fulfilled life.
I realized as I was writing this that I have now cleverly given this idea of FUN renewed meaning and value so the driven part of me is at ease.
I did not set out to get serious about fun in this way. There is no need for it. What I really want is to have fun for the sake of fun. Period. No other reason necessary. The fact that it will also fill me up and keep me going is just a fringe benefit.
So I am sticking to my intention and putting FUN to the forefront of my life. Make it my main focus this year. That’s right. You heard me. MAIN priority. This is how I am getting serious about FUN.
What that looks like? I’ll discuss that in a future post. I’m tempted to say next week, but it feels more fun to leave my options open. If you don’t want to miss it, subscribe or follow me on Facebook or Instagram. In fact, do that anyway! Let’s have some fun together.
Speaking of which, let’s have fun now and continue the conversation in the comments.
Can you relate? Do you make time for fun only when the “important” stuff is done? Or have you perhaps learned this lesson already and found ways to give it a higher priority?
I’d love to hear from you.