On “Fun” and “Play.”
Something I talked about in my newsletter semi-recently (and on the podcast a little bit too at some point), that has been on my mind a LOT lately, has been the concept of fun. And what we do for fun, or really… what counts as “fun.” I had listened to this episode of Glennon Doyle’s podcast and it left me in a little state of crisis as most of the things I do for “fun” revolve around eating, drinking, or self-care. According to Glennon and Abby, those things don’t actually count. Their definition of fun revolved more around the idea of “play.” As a self-described indoor kid who is just not competitive (at least in the athletic kind of way), I found myself feeling a little bit stumped.
In my younger years I tried to do more “fun” things. I was on a softball team with my friends from work but was happiest when I didn’t have to actually play. I liked wearing our cute uniforms (our t-shirts were emerald green) and I would maybe go up to hit once or twice during the game (usually striking out), and would happily skip out on playing the field. We joked that I was the designated hitter, even though I was a pretty terrible hitter too. The best part for me was going to the neighborhood bar afterward and having a drink, a snack, and getting the latest gossip (we were 23, something scandalous was always going on!).
Here are some things that I find fun:
Reading. I definitely read for fun. Walking. I also love going for walks. I love looking at and learning about art. And I really just love learning… taking a class (I love Masterclass), listening to a nerdy podcast, etc. And I actually do like to hike (a LIGHT hike, that is) here and there. I also love trying out new recipes. Whether it’s a Blue Apron recipe or teaching myself how to make a new ice cream flavor, that’s fun for me. I think the fun element is in that I know I could massively fail, so when it turns out well, I feel this amazing sense of victory and accomplishment. I love watching movies, and I love playing with my cat.
They say that if you are looking to figure out what is fun for you, thinking about the things you loved as a kid can help you figure it out.
Elizabeth Gilbert talked about this a little bit when we interviewed her. And this idea actually hit me over the head this past weekend in LA. We were hanging out at our friends’ beach club all day in Santa Monica and jumped into the ocean. We had thought maybe this would be the weekend I’d try surfing but it was too choppy and I was feeling a little nervous and intimidated. So we just jumped into the water and played for a while. Dodging waves, body surfing… just playing in the water like little kids.
I got knocked over countless times, my bathing suit was filled with sand, but I could not stop laughing and had the biggest smile on my face all afternoon. This makes sense. I grew up by the beach and always loved playing in the waves as a child. So as someone who has been stumped on the ideas of “fun” and “play,” I can attest. The things that brought you joy as a child will bring you just as much joy as an adult… maybe even more. (And it’s okay if more quiet things like reading and walking are your idea of fun, too).
How about you? Tell me how you incorporate “fun” and “play” in your own life in the comments. I want some inspiration.