In her book “The Happiness Project”, author Gretchen Rubin spent May focused on “Be Serious About Play: Leisure”, which was another interesting topic for me, after I tried to “Lighten Up” last month!
- Find more fun
- Take time to be silly
- Go off the path
- Start a collection
Okay, these ones are going to be tough!
Finding more fun:
Yes, I should definitely make time for fun. But I also don’t think that I need to conform to what other people consider fun to be. Believe it or not, I am usually having “fun” when together with small groups of friends, family, or coworkers although I’m usually not drinking alcohol. Seriously. I may not be dancing on the table or doing shots off…well, I won’t tell that story…but you don’t need to worry if I’m having fun, because I am.
To me, organized sports are not fun. Watching them isn’t much better, unless it’s the Habs and especially if it’s playoffs. Watching my own offspring pick daisies in the soccer field is no more or less painful than seeing professionals in action.
Gretchen writes that for her, something fun would pass the following test: “I looked forward to it; I found it energizing, not draining; and I didn’t feel guilty about it later.”
“Fun” for me is leisure time (movies, hot baths, restaurant dinners, reading great books and magazines) as well as celebrity-related pursuits: going behind the scenes at TV shows, attending to the Toronto International Film Festival, etc. “Fun” is helping my daughters organize their toys; it is NOT playing with said daughters and toys. Organizing pretty much anything is actually fun for me, as I have shared in my Twitter bio.
While I am confident in the things I like to do for “Kate fun”, I also need to remember that others may define fun differently, and sometimes to contribute to their happiness, I need to get outside my comfort zone: attend a large social function with strangers, participate in something athletic, or (the horror) spend time outside when it’s less than 25 degrees Celsius.
Take time to be silly:
I’m not sure that anyone in real life has ever referred to me as “silly”. Perhaps in the context of “you’re worrying too much about that, don’t be silly”, but definitely not in the goofy, entertaining kind of way. OH! But I do a great Irish accent, which I pull out at St. Patrick’s Day when reading themed books to my children at home and at school. Does that count? Okay, I’ll work on it.
Go off the path:
I am willing to venture off the path when it comes to learning/trying new things related to my career(s), but there are many areas where I am stuck in a rut. Meals, for example, since I’m such a picky eater. Music too – pop and country are my standbys. I branch out in terms of authors, but stick closely to suspense, chick lit and nonfiction (self-help style and celeb bios). These are all areas where I can expand my horizons, and I’m sure it would be good for me…but would it lead to more happiness? I suppose I could discover something new that I never thought I would love…but I could also feel pressure to trudge through a book I don’t like, or music I don’t enjoy. As far as the food preferences go…I may have some very interesting and exciting news to share on that front in the future, but I’ll leave you hanging for now.
Start a collection:
Do shoes count?
When I was young, I love to cut out clippings of my favourite stars and keep albums, but these days I don’t think I could handle the overwhelming availability of information and products. Because of the web, you could never possibly have every photo or clipping about someone (not that my interests still lie in that sort of collection) but I wouldn’t want to start amassing items that can be found in abundance on eBay. There’s no thrill of the hunt and excitement in the find. Maybe I should collect something a little more rare…diamonds perhaps?
I’m too much of a clutterphobe to collect anything knickknacky, and I’m not very sentimental about objects at all, but I see Rubin’s point that a collection “provides a mission, a reason to visit new places, the excitement of the chase, a field of expertise (no matter how trivial), and, often, a bond with other people.”
My question for you today, dear readers, is: what do you collect? Do you get happiness from your collection? Okay, fine, that’s two questions, but they’re not long. I’d love to read your answers, and just for “fun”, I’ll choose one commenter to win a $10 gift card for Tim Horton’s! Share your “collection” by May 16th for your chance to win, and make sure you leave a way for me to contact you!