So here I am, in the midst of a busy yet immensely satisfying life, when I look around and notice something is missing:
It’s not that I don’t have fun with my fantastic friends when we get together, or that I don’t enjoy good books, the occasional goofy cat video on YouTube or shows like The Voice that inspire and entertain me (more on that in just a minute). I’m missing the kind of creative play that delights me from the inside out, something I can distract myself with in a healthy, enlivening way. Something I can lose myself in.
Because truth be told, I’m a little tired of myself. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a full-fledged champion of self-love, so I’m not judging myself here. I’m just noticing that I feel a little, shall we say…stale. I want to freshen things up a bit, to consciously sprinkle some zest and creative challenge on the full plate of my life.
My Inner Doubting One is very concerned about that word “full.” She sits across from me, arms folded across her chest and that sober-as-a-judge look on her face. She warns me that it would be pure folly to take on something new right now, given all the demands that running my own business have on my time and attention. Not to mention that I’m already challenged to find time to spend with those fantastic friends I have. And what about the extra time I need to invest in my workouts? No, now is not the time, she insists. It would be far more practical to stay focused on my existing priorities and not distract myself with something as frivolous and unproductive as having fun.
Luckily for me, I’ve garnered a bit more wisdom than the Inner Doubting One has. I’ve learned that fun doesn’t need to be justified. It is its own reason for being. It lifts our spirits, makes it easier to let go of worn-out, burdensome thoughts, invites all kinds of good-feeling and health-promoting chemicals to flood into our bloodstream, opens our minds to the kind of non-linear, inspired thinking that rocks our world, and generally makes us a lot more fun to be around. And all of that, when you think about it, literally and substantively enhances our productivity.
Fun, as it turns out, is eminently practical.
With that I was able to silence the Inner Doubting One, at least temporarily. My next challenge was to figure out what kind of fun I wanted to experience. Having coached a countless number of clients over the years, I knew I wasn’t alone in drawing a blank on that one. We’ve been so conditioned to focus on productivity, accountability and accomplishments, fun has taken a back seat. In fact, it’s more likely to be in the trunk, hidden under all the tools and debris of our “productive” lives.
So I had to keep asking: What is fun? What is fun…for me?
I got curious about when, in my life, I’ve had the most fun, and what tickles my fancy now. I thought back to my high school days, when I was actively involved in community theatre and also my high school’s equivalent of the Glee Club. Singing and dancing! Now that was fun. Is it any wonder that – nerd alert! – my favorite TV shows are Dancing With the Stars and The Voice? Clearly not.
I love when a client rediscovers a thread of joy that has been present in his or her life, even if not consistently, for a long time. That kind of staying power often signifies a passion that can really light up their lives, if they’re willing to give it a little TLC. And I had just rediscovered one of those threads in my life. Was I willing to give it a little TLC?
I started by downloading a bunch of my favorite songs to my iPod, and singing with them whenever I could. Wow. I started feeling lighter and better almost immediately. I started having fun, right here in my kitchen while chopping garlic! I was hooked. How could I expand that great feeling? I decided to turn this whole endeavor into a game, to keep it light rather than letting it become one more thing adding weight to my to-do list.
Enter the celebrity crush.
Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I got a blind audition on The Voice…and met Adam Levine?? Now that’s a game worth playing, at least in my book. Why not go for it?
And so, in this new fun game I’ve set up for myself, I’m going for it. I don’t expect to make it to the live auditions, of course, but just having that as even a remote possibility is all I need. It creates the kind of excitement that propels me into action. I’ve already identified several low- or no-cost avenues for getting the voice training I need, and a good friend of mine, who has a professional-level video/audio recording studio in his basement, has offered to record my audition video. And I’ve started an ever-growing list of possible audition songs.
I wonder which song Adam would like best?
I’m having fun already. I’m singing more and analyzing less. I’m focusing more of my attention on what I love and what I want, and less of my attention on what is “wrong” or what is missing. I’m challenging limited views I have about myself. I’m actively looking for – and appreciating – the resources I have available to me, right now, to live into my dreams.
And all of those things are, by the way, essential elements of bringing any dreams to life, even – or especially – the ones we don’t consider to be a game. This bringing-dreams-to-life thing is filled with paradox, and a central paradox is this: We need to take our dreams seriously, yet hold them lightly lest we crush them with our fears and desperation. So the art of it is to find ways to maintain our focus while keeping our overall energy high and light.
Having fun is a great way to keep our energy high and light. (And having a celebrity-crush-infused goal is a fun way to maintain focus…at least for me.) So: how much fun are you having right now?
I want you to take that question seriously! Challenge yourself to come up with ways to add more fun to your life.
Your Inner Doubting One may warn you that it’s impractical, but nothing could be further from the truth. Fun will relax you and open you and inspire you. Dare to love yourself enough to create a life you love, right now.