Fun as a Non-Negotiable

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

As I felt my Sunday-osis kicking in yesterday it occurred to me that there is an approach I frequently have to life that may be far more habitual than intentional. I have a habit of just grinding it out, whatever it is, because I know that I can.

More than a year ago, in a vulnerable conversation, I was asked to name quickly my best characteristics. At the time, and for many months after, I felt they were noble things to list. I felt good about them. I said things like hard-working, perseverant, not a quitter, driven, and focused. I am starting to see that list a little differently these days.

Of course, I still value and see the merit in hard work, perseverance, finishing what you start, and having commitment. But sometimes I need to ask myself, to what end? 

Often I just keep going because of momentum, because that’s the way I have always done life. Which brings me back to yesterday. I was sitting in a lawn chair, poolside at my aunt’s house,  contemplating the training run I had yet to do and the workweek that was about to begin again. And I felt tired. I felt tired of the push to keep at it. The push to get one more thing in. 

Lately I have been making strides to have more balance in my life by doing things like going to the pool for a few hours over the weekend. But it occurred to me life has to be worth more than that, doesn’t it? We work and we push and we pull and we strive and sometimes you really need to ask, for what?

Why do we accept such a feeling as Sunday-osis as somehow being normal? That it’s an acceptable state for those of working age? Not long after this thought I got up to collect my things and head home to run and complete whatever else was on my list. And one of the things to check off was writing this blog to all of you. And on my drive I thought, what if one of my non-negotiables was to have fun?

We’ve written about non-negotiables before. I have talked about it. And I live it often in my life but what’s never occurred to me to put on the list at such a high value that it must be part of my life is fun and enjoyment. Never. As I started to think about it, they have always been more of “when I have time” kinds of pursuits. When I have time? I will have fun when I have time?

It feels absurd to type so I hope it feels absurd for you to read. And with the backdrop of a pandemic it’s even more laughable. Are we really all doing our best to get through this experience so we can … work more? Is our ultimate goal more… stuff?

Intellectually I understand the value of play, the value of unscheduled time but it’s become acutely clear that just because I understand it does not prove I “know it.”

Clearly I do not. If I did, I would be living differently. I believe in working toward a goal. I believe in setting your sights on a lofty accomplishment and working toward it. I have experienced the value in that. But I also know that can feel burdensome and fatiguing, to always be pushing.

And yesterday, the question came to me so clearly: Is this all I really want or expect out of life? Is this feeling of quasi-dread and weight before the beginning of a week the experience I want to have about my life? When do we learn that this is  “just life?” 

I sat with those questions for a good long while yesterday and I am sure I will for days to come. But what I can tell you already is:

No this is NOT all I want or expect out of life

No, I do NOT want to have the feeling of being weighed-down at the prospect of a new week.

I don’t know where I learned that this is “just life” but I am going to figure out how to unlearn that defeatist approach as fast as I possibly can.

All this month we’ve been waxing poetic about being alive. We’ve lamented quarantine and all the unrest of the world and our heavy hearts but never once did I lament my lackluster expectations of it in the most basic of ways.

It seems like a reasonable expectation to believe that life is meant to be fun! Because if it’s not, what the heck is the point? I am all for learning and challenge and growth but fun really needs to be part of the most basic demands I make on my life, right?

I don’t know how this is going to unfold but maybe these are questions you want to start asking yourself, too. At this moment, I hope that if at some point in the future I am again asked to quickly name my best traits one of the first things out of my mouth is in regard to fun. 

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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