“Fun: One of the most underrated ingredients for success in life – in any venture.”
Call me a lightweight, but I love to have fun. Let my hair down once in a while. Laugh at nonsense. Why ever not?
And how about you? When was the last time you did something without too much reflection – just because?
Well, I’m going to just dive in now, and fess up to a few of my own secret, frivolous pleasures. For example, I love dancing alone to my favourite music when nobody’s looking. Not so wild, I hear you say? But definitely a big surge of feel-good endorphins.
I’ve also wasted many an hour lovingly re-arranging and re-positioning items in my homes over the years. Some may call it mild OCD, I just call it F.U.N!
Recently, I’ve had a ridiculous swell of delight sifting through and handling some of my ancient childhood toys (with the help of my gorgeous 8yo) – handed down through all three of my children over the past two decades – as we prepared to move back to the UK from abroad.
Now, I realise some would say all of the above are pretty shallow, pointless activities. But I couldn’t disagree more. It’s wonderful to just be ourselves sometimes. Doing whatever feels right. Experts also confirm this deep rooted need for some light hearted activity in our day to day lives, and I’m a big champion of that school of thought.
Going For Gold
Nowadays, however, we seem to have made competitive over achievement something of a national sport. Why is that? Not a minute must be ‘wasted’ on anything that doesn’t serve a valid, meaningful purpose. We’re all so obsessed with being constantly busy, dashing here, there and everywhere, making appointments, pleasing others, validating ourselves in (often) unnecessary ways, filling every moment of our free time – but are we somehow missing the point?
I mean; must everything in life have a purpose? Does every single moment of the day need to be accounted for? God forbid we do anything utterly pointless just for the hell of it, right?
Dick Whittington Went There – And So Did I
Well, I’ve today returned from a few days in magnificent London.
No programme whatsoever other than long overdue relaxation – and the enjoyment of being with my family, who usually live in different corners of the world. I was blown away by the wonderful breeziness of a warm, sunny afternoon spent in Hyde Park with two of my children – and many thousands of strangers.
Informal football and baseball games, young children giggling with friends, stray ducks waddling and parents – shoes off – lounging on the beautifully kept lakeside lawns of one of her Majesty’s most wonderful Royal Parks. People were actually chatting and making eye contact, mostly without the dreaded cell phones in sight. It was honestly like being in a gorgeous, long ago timewarp.
How lovely it was to see relaxed, smiling faces, cheerily engaging with strangers in a thoroughly positive way. I was very happy to be one of them.
But it appears that not everyone has the knack of engaging in a bit of carefree frivolity. A sense of fun really seems to be becoming increasingly rare – sometimes even in the young. Why is that?
Fun – just a by-product of human leisure time?
Recent studies show that even our wonderful animal friends have a capacity for pointless pleasure- seeking too. Crows in Russia were observed ‘tobogganing’ down a snowy roof; swans surfing on the crest of a wave, and lions rolling in the dust with their young. Scientists then questioned whether there are tangible benefits to these behaviours and concluded not. Animals play simply because it’s enjoyable. A great lesson for some humans too.
But who has the most fun?
We all know that children find endless pleasure through the pursuit of play, but even their play has become more restricted and differently defined in the past thirty years with the fast pace of technology, plus the demands and pressure from peer groups, the media, family and friends.
Nonetheless, we can learn a lot from them.
Similarly the newly in love! Aah! Skinny dipping in icy waters anyone? Impromptu bacon sandwiches and dancing at 3am whilst the neighbours sleep? We all know that lovely state of blissful (sadly limited) euphoria, don’t we? If only we could bottle and sell it!
Ready To Have A Blast, Let Go and Play?
- Firstly, you’ll need to ensure there are specific times when work cannot interfere with your home life. So turn off the Wifi and abandon your phone.
- Next: Learn to re-connect with your inner 10 year old. If there was something you enjoyed doing back then – try it again now?
- Shake off the self consciousness. Handstand? Cartwheel anyone? Go for it!
- Ask yourself who is insisting you be busy and so serious all of the time? Mostly yourself probably. Don’t give in to pressure (created inwardly or outwardly). No one on earth needs to be busy and fully adult-like at all times.
- Can you enrol a friend? Someone who understands the need for a bit of fun as much as you?
- Savour the moment! Whenever you decide to let your hair down, do it without judging yourself. Allow yourself some unabashed space.
Let down your guard! Whether it’s walking along the beach collecting shells as the tide goes out, popping bubblewrap with the delight of an eight year old (or even with an eight year old…), or just singing along to your favourite eighties tracks with a terrible voice in the car – just do it. You only live once. Simple, joyful activities will do you the world of good – and only you know what’s fun for you!
…now, please do excuse me? I’m off to practice a few new dance moves.
Originally published at www.sarah-virag.com