Like Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” Being playful comes naturally as a child, but many of us lose our ability to have fun during the “too cool to care” teen years. We start worrying about what other people will think of us if we act childish or lose control of our cool.
As an adult, you may find that how other people have fun is more like torture for you. “Fun” in our culture is often represented by boozing, big crowds, and loud parties – it’s like we’re stuck in those adolescent years as a society.
But just because you don’t enjoy the mainstream’s definition of fun doesn’t mean that you don’t need playtime in your life. Find your fun and plan on playtime on a regular basis – even if you have to put on your calendar!
How Do You Have Fun?
You are now on a scavenger hunt for your fun. Answer the following questions to find the treasure!
- Hang Out with Your Inner Child
What did you enjoy doing as a child during unstructured playtime? Would you round up a group of friends or embark on your own in an imaginary world? Did you have any hobbies that you’ve let fall by the wayside? If you went to summer camp, what was the part that you loved most? Arts and crafts class, team games, singing, board games, or stories by the fire? Close your eyes and put yourself in your shoes as a child. What are you excited about?
- Examine Your Guilty Pleasures
Come back to the present, and take a look at your so-called “guilty pleasures.” Guilty pleasures are things that we enjoy that we “shouldn’t” – music, movies, hobbies, and pursuits that the world has deemed lame. Things that your inner teenager is afraid to enjoy fully because he/she doesn’t want to be laughed at. Is there anything that brings you joy – but that you would never post about on Facebook? You’ve just found another clue toward finding your fun.
- Insert More Fun Into Your Day-to-Day Routine
Is your daily routine a drag? Jot down a list of the activities you do on a regular day, from housekeeping to lunch to walking the dogs. Rate your daily activities on a scale from 1-10 based on how much fun they are. Which activities rate high on the “have fun” scale? Which rate low? Is there any way you can increase the high-ranking activities and decrease the low? Double the length of your dog walk, crank up the tunes while you scrub your sink, and make your brown bag lunch more fun with a piece of exotic fruit.
- Don’t Substitute Distraction for Playtime
“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing," Charles Schaefer famously once noted. So make time to have fun. If you think that your schedule is already too packed to add playtime, look again at the amount of time that you spend on social media and watching television. Chances are, you are spending a lot of your valuable time on activities that bring you distraction – not fun. While mindless distraction and relaxation certainly have its place sometimes in our lives, it’s not the same thing as having fun. Make sure you know the difference.
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