How to Have Fun in Your Life

Person doing a cartwheel on the the beach

My friend Shannon and I grabbed a glass of wine recently at a local vineyard.

We don’t do this enough. She’s a former CIA Officer; her life’s story is an inspirational tale of resiliency, self-compassion, and personal growth. (She was my first Bet on You Podcast guest, by the way. Listen in by clicking here.) I love talking with her, laughing with her, and sharing life stories. She’s a “real friend,” not what Arthur Brooks calls a “deal friend.”

We live in a small, rural community. Getting together shouldn’t be too hard, it’s not like we have to battle DC traffic. And – yet – we agreed that we don’t prioritize friendships and, particularly, fun in our life. It seems we focus a lot on facilitating the fun of others, but neglect our own joy far too often.

What’s worse, when we try and have fun, we ruin it by over-planning and over-engineering the experience.

I’ll give you an example: when my family goes on vacation, they call me Julie McCoy – if you recall, she was the Cruise Director on the Love Boat. I have agendas each day that include carefully selected experiences. I love it because we have activities…others get annoyed because they now have expectations. I’m learning…I’m learning…I’m a work in progress, too.

What’s the unintended consequence of missing out on fun…and, particular, spontaneous fun? My personal belief is that we’re all turning into curmudgeons.

We’re holding onto anger, resentment, frustration, and misery, and it’s rotting us to the core.

One of the unique aspects of my work is that I get glimpses into a range of companies in different industries. I also work closely with HR leaders – man, these people have books to write and stories to tell! I’ve observed that last year was the year that people “had it” – and they let their employer know in ways in less-than-best behavior.

I empathize with both managers and employees. It’s challenging coming out of a pandemic, falling back into a “normal” routine, and managing the emotional turmoil associated with change.

The antidote to pushing the boundaries is fun…something, clearly, many of us have a challenge doing.

Having fun often feels like a luxury, doesn’t it? The idea that we can immerse ourselves in our own joy. It feels kind of selfish at times, too, especially when we consider our responsibilities and all the people counting on us to support them?

Here’s an idea: think of having fun as an important investment you can make in yourself. Plus, when you feel lighter, you lighten the mood around you. Fun has a way of being contagious. People want to have fun. Maybe they’ve forgotten, too, that this is important for our quality of life?

My first Bet on You guest this season is all about having fun. You’re not going to want to miss my interview with Paul Long, the founder of FUNdamism. Here’s one tidbit I picked up from Paul: stop putting so much pressure on the moments. Be in the moment.

My throwdown challenge to you is to try and find one activity this week that is just pure fun. Immerse yourself in it. It could be making a snow angel in the yard…it could be watching a movie YOU want to watch…it could be putting on a song and dancing like no one is watching (even if they are and judging your dance moves). Just try to have fun.

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