If it's Not Fun, I'm Not Going to Do it in 2014
That title is not a typo; it is a personal goal for the coming year.
I have heard countless times the familiar phrase, “Life is short so you might as well BLANK.” But during my time on this topsy-turvy planet I have arrived at my own conclusion: if you're lucky, life is LONG so you might as well BLANK, in this case blank being have more fun!
Think about it, the goal for most human beings, most living things in fact, is to live as long as possible. That has been a pretty big goal since the dawn of time. And yet, while people are busy doing everything they can to extend their life, they're doing very little to make sure the quality of that life is something worth living for. If I am going to live a long life (hopefully), I'm going to have fun doing it, damn it! (I normally frown upon swearing in print, but sometimes swearing can be fun)
Here are some ways I’m going to inject fun into my life in 2014:
I’ll Make Exercise Fun
Many of you reading this right now might be clinging to the determination you felt on January 1st when you proclaimed to the world and your significant other you were finally going to lose weight and get into shape this year. How’s that going? If it’s not going well, chances are you hate exercise - find it worse than cleaning your bathroom or going to the dentist. In other words, to you, exercise is no fun at all.
But it doesn't have to be horrible, it truly doesn’t. The definition of exercise isn't ‘going to the gym and getting on the elliptical machine for an hour,’ or ‘taking a Zumba class with your wife even though you feel like an idiot,’ or ‘joining a hardcore boot camp and feeling lightheaded and nauseous within the first twenty minutes.’ The definition of exercise is simply: any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness. It says nothing about hating it the whole time.
So, find a physical activity that is fun and you actually enjoy, whether that’s walking around the block after dinner, playing racquetball with a friend from work, or riding your bike with your kids. Just HAVE FUN doing it and you’ll keep doing it and the weight will come off and you’ll be healthier. Which means you’ll live a longer life.
I’m getting back into yoga this year because to me that’s fun, and I’m even considering trying paddle boarding and kayaking.
Having a Funner Social Life
You may be saying, “But Devon, how do you not have fun in your social life, that’s what a social life is all about?” Trust me, there are plenty of people who are leading social lives that aren’t any fun at all. And for the record, I’m not saying mine isn't fun, I have very dear friends and family whom I enjoy spending time with immensely. What I am saying is, in the coming year, I will no longer do something socially that I don’t want to do simply because I feel I should or because it’s the nice thing to do. And if it’s a function I’m not thrilled about but absolutely HAVE to go to to support friends and family (holiday office parties and BBQ’s and what not), then I will be certain I make the time spent there fun, even if it means making up silly games in my head (real hair or toupee?) .
I think so many of us get caught up in a cycle of shoulds, which sounds like the title of the next Harry Potter book – “The Cycle of Shoulds.” From the time we’re very little we’re taught what we should and shouldn't do, and a lot of it made sense: You SHOULD look both ways before crossing the street, you SHOULDN'T touch a hot stove. But as we get older we are the ones who are supposed to make up our own rules of life and decide what we should and shouldn't do – what is good and bad for us. We SHOULDN'T let outside voices get into our head and tell us what to do all of them time. Too many obligations that sap our life energy are bad, and I say if it’s not fun, if it’s not going to add value to your life but simply waste precious time – don’t say yes to that obligation.
Are you having fun in your personal relationships? Granted, there are times when you may argue with a loved one or when life throws sadness at your family, and those times aren’t much fun at all but sadness and grief are a part of life.
What I’m specifically talking about is... are there people in your life that are always down and negative and confrontational and, well, not much fun to be around? Their energy is toxic and after spending 10 minutes with them you feel exhausted and anxious. They seem to literally suck the life out of you.
At a previous job I had many many moons ago, there was a woman who was a living, breathing dark hole. When I first started working there I didn’t know how toxic she was, I just knew no one else wanted to be around her. No one would eat lunch with her and I, being new and naïve, took pity on her and began eating my lunch with her every day. Well, by day three I found myself looking at the clock in absolute dread of lunch, not wanting to spend an entire hour listening to this woman go on and on about how rotten her life was, how rotten her health was, how her kids never called her, how her neighbors were awful to her, how the world, basically, was constantly giving her the finger.
Long story short, this was a personal interaction that was very unhealthy for me and I finally realized her happiness was not my responsibility. My own happiness is my responsibility and I needed to remove this toxic energy from my life and so I began going by myself to a nearby park for lunch which I found much more energizing.
It’s not always easy removing toxic relationships from our lives, especially when the toxic energy is coming from a very close friend or family member who we’ve known for years. But it’s important to cut out as much darkness from our lives so we can make new room for light.
These are a few ways I intend to inject some fun into my year. What about you?
Devon is a Licensed Mental Health/Substance Abuse Counselor, Personal Life Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and a nationally certified teacher. She is committed to helping young people be their highest selves in all areas: body, mind, and spirit. Her expertise, enthusiasm, energy and educational background serve to create a unique blend of services and techniques employed to help you reach your goals. For counseling sessions, coaching, or training, please contact her at 505.469.0779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.