Truth Byte #54
“It was always supposed to be fun.”
When I was a kid, everything was so much fun. Whether it was playing in the forest behind my house, late-night-hide-and-seek with the neighbourhood kids, or Disney movie marathons, my life was so full and rich and fun. Even the summer I spent with a cast on my leg was fun as people wrote messages of hope in their first grade printing and my little brother devised secret contraptions to help me deal with the itchiness.
Being a kid was fun, and yet I couldn’t wait to grow up.
I see this pattern repeating with my own kids. They love to measure themselves against my abdomen to see how much they have grown, and whenever someone compliments them on getting taller, they beam from the inside. They can’t wait to be older.
From where I am sitting, older is often the opposite of fun. Older means more responsibility, unavoidable obligations, and being bored or stressed a lot of the time.
Why would anyone want that?
My guess is most of us don’t. When we were teenagers, we had big ideas about what it would mean to be a grown-up. We imagined adult-ing to be a lot like childhood, except with less people bossing us around, setting curfews, and telling us what to do. We imagined we would be doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, and thoroughly enjoying it. We imagined we would be loved, and respected, and valued, and that our voice and perspective would really matter.
We imagined we would get to do in adulthood what we only dreamed of in adolescence.
And some of us did those things. Some of us travelled on a shoestring and had wild adventures in foreign lands. Some of us had steamy affairs and heartbreaks and met lovers that would change the way we saw the whole relationship thing. Some of us rode to the top of our careers quickly and effortlessly and were celebrated by all the important who’s whos of our industries.
And some of us didn’t do those things. Some of us stayed the path and ended up with reliable, consistent jobs that didn’t fuel our passions but paid the bills. Some of us married the right person at the right time and settled in to the long haul of committed life. Some of us explored our own city and neighbourhoods, finding the cute little spots that filled our buckets, and didn’t have the resources to explore farther than that.
And some of us are still floundering, finding ourselves on this side of retirement with way too many years spent trying to figure it all out, and way too few years actually living.
As Spring comes to my town, I must remind myself that this life was meant to be fun. So even though I was the one who chose safety over adventure, security over risks, and long-term love over one-night stands, I remind myself that there can be fresh colour in my choices. Steady doesn’t have to mean boring. Responsible doesn’t have to mean my cup is always emptied on others.
Adult-ing doesn’t have to mean same old same old.
A few months ago, I made two important changes. One was a change in diet. I accepted that certain foods do not agree with me, and I have let them go for good through a movement called Bright Line Eating. The other change was going out with some friends to Paint Nite. Both of these choices have revived me, and brought fun back into my life.
With the change in food, I have learned that I was limiting myself in so many ways by looking for food to be my fun. Unless it tasted incredible and packed on significant pounds, it didn’t really feel like a treat to me, and I was always looking for a treat to brighten up my otherwise dull day. Or looking for a treat to reward myself. Or looking for a treat to motivate myself. Or looking for a treat because it was a special occasion.
Let’s be honest, I was just looking for a treat for the sake of the treat and blaming my food choices on my boredom. As I have stopped this treat business through Bright Line Eating, I am finding my mind is so much more free to actually do things and be around people that are fun, rather than relying on food to be my fun.
Which leads to decision number two: painting. I have always wished I was a talented artist. I would watch longingly the television shows that followed the journey of a canvas from white to full, and would look closely at other people’s art to see if some “future me” would be able to replicate it. A couple months ago, some good friends invited me out to Paint Nite, an easy-going evening where professional artists talk normal people through the process of painting some simple picture.
What an unexpected adventure!
I couldn’t believe what landed on my canvas at the end of two short hours. I was completely unaware of the passage of time or my “on-going problems”, and just got lost in my artist mind for a while. I took what was inside of me and poured it into colours.
I want more of that.
And so now I am finding ways to bring more painting into my life.
Just for fun.
And while an event like Paint Nite is something I will likely do regularly over the next few months, I am pretty much done trying to make fun happen with some contrived event. Instead, I find myself allowing for fun to find me in even the mundane moments of my life.
Kind of like when I was a kid.
Has your life become a little too serious…are you ready to have a little more fun? This week I would encourage you to look at your life through your kid-like eyes, and see where you can inject a little more playtime into your day, for no other reason than to have fun. Join Jena Amarsi and me on our weekly YouTube Talkshow, Today is Your Day and come play with us at The Get Happy Club on Thursday nights or join our online community! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.