I think this is something we forget too often, and I’ll give you an example.
“But the antidote may be hiding in plain sight. Two recent books argue that making room for more fun in your life could counteract both the stress and the tendency to escape it by zoning out online. “
When I recovered from my physical illness and started working again, I was still in therapy and managed to get myself into some not-insignificant debt. I was doing my best to pay off accumulated bills, living with my parents to minimize expenses, etc. I also had the opportunity to play some adult recreational league roller hockey. The fees for playing weren’t much, but it was money. In my mind, it was wasting money that was owed, and time I could be working on myself.
In chatting with my therapist, she was a little dumbfounded that I would look at it that way. She explained that there was nothing wrong with doing something just because it was fun for me. I was almost 30 years old. That was the first time in my adult life that I felt I had permission to do something “just for fun.” It’s a little shocking to me to look back at my 20s and realize that I spent that whole decade making decisions that took no account of my pleasure in doing something. Every activity had been decided based on what was a good learning experience, how I could grow or help others grow, how it built a relationship or furthered the goals of work or church, etc. I never took time to have fun for its own sake.
Now that I’m in my 50s, it can sometimes still be a struggle. I know it is for a lot of other people as well. They evaluate how they spend their time based on how this activity will help their career or further their kid’s education and well-being, connect them to the right people, etc. Rarely is it just because it’s fun. But that is enough of a reason to do something. Having some fun in our lives is healthy and has many positive benefits. Those hockey games were my refuge during a difficult time in my life. They turned out to be a place to get exercise, connect with other people, and increase my overall physical and mental health. It was also lovely to do something I enjoyed for that only that reason.
In Louisiana, we are headed into the heart of Mardi Gras season. This is the time to do things just for fun. It might be tradition or about being connected to your krewe, but it’s mostly about fun. Life is too short not to make some time for having fun. With all the negative things out there, it might be imperative that we find that time in our current world. Without it, we are all fairly miserable. We can take a break from “all of this” and have fun. It’s what makes putting up with the rest of it worthwhile.