I had a moment when I was 29 after doing extensive personal development and professional training in Psychotherapy and Transformational Coaching when I wanted to let loose and have fun.
It was summertime and the weekend, so I was convinced in my head, “yes! I deserve a little fun!”
I was hanging out with a guy friend and we were doing some drinking of alcohol, then wanted to eat “fun food” like donuts and fast food, then stayed up til about 4am when I had something to be at the next day at 12 noon.
You know what occurred to me that morning when I was groggy, my tummy hurt, my energy was low, and my face was puffy?
“Who said this is FUN??”
Why is junk food, staying up late and messing with my body fun?
Now I am not into stringent, militant rules of only eating broccoli and going to bed at 9pm. I have forced myself to follow those unbendable rules as well and they are decidedly not fun for sure.
However, for the 6 hours at night I was “having fun” the entire 12-24 hours after I was paying for it by having a miserable day, being irritable, having a case of the I-don’t-wannas and not having the authentic energy to be my true self.
Being too strict is not the solution, but instead questioning what fun really means, and what actually works for us as individuals to unwind and enjoy life.
I think it is more fun to feel vitality, enjoy my day, be present with other people, feel my feelings, and naturally choose self-care habits like drinking enough water and eating to fuel and nourish rather than to chase a high or prove a point. I also genuinely like having a healthier body, over the short-term pleasures of sleeping in or indulging too much in food.
What did I do after my a-ha moment?
I decided to transform my idea of “fun.”
Why are these behaviours associated with having fun in the first place? They only make sense if an 11 year old wrote the definition.
11 year olds naturally rebel and test their limits, but ideally there is a loving adult present to educate and guide them to healthy decisions so they can be their best self and enjoy the benefits of being a thriving human versus a reactive, rebellious, F the world child. Many people might not have had that type of guidance in their lives, but they can become it for themselves by choosing to re-train themselves.
I stay up late still, I have wine in moderation, I eat sugar occasionally and with delight, but I don’t go all willy-nilly, guns blazing, rebellion on all that is good for me as a way to “have fun.” Well, not anymore 🙂 I became my own parent to myself, so that my decisions genuinely enhance my life and make me feel good and be healthy, do I always meet the mark, nope, but I aim for it.
Which makes me wonder…
How many of us are just NUMBING in the name of FUN?
It is a very different situation to feel good and stable, and then imbibe or have a less than nutritious snack just because you want to. Living in this world of many choices and enjoying a variety of experiences is also part of a healthy lifestyle.
We are definitely numbing when we rely on sugar, alcohol, shopping, sex, and other behaviours seen as “fun” or “letting lose” to manage life.
I also question when people say to themselves or others, “you deserve this.”
You deserve what exactly?
An over-worked liver?
Extra pounds from emotional eating?
A short term high that doesn’t change the feelings or situations you are trying to numb from in the first place?
The point of this message is not to support polarities of being overly restrictive to overly rebellious. I want to illuminate what I discovered myself when I simply questioned “What does fun really mean to ME?”
Not an 11 year old consciousness, “screw being an adult,” reactive, immature idea society and the media seem to portray. That type of fun is very convenient for fast food chains, cigarette companies and alcohol providers.
For me, fun is laughing with my friends, going to new places (not even costing money, just the exploration and wonder of new places), singing or making music, I genuinely have fun blasting my favourite music and working out (some days), I like going to workshops or events and learning new things, I like cuddling up with blankets and bite watching shows, I like funny GIFs, I like enjoying food but I enjoy it more when it is delicious and nutritious quality food and even more so if it was made with love or artistic flair!
I have fun the more ME I am.
Not when I’m not trying to run away from things, or make other’s happy.
I do the things that light me up when I can, and handle the day to day stuff so I can enjoy my own time. I’m actually not amazing at “adulting,” I have to make myself do things and I set timers to make myself get the boring stuff done. If you are like me, I recommend getting that stuff out of the way sooner rather than later, then let yourself have genuine downtime or fun time depending what you genuinely need or want. Procrastination is not fun.
We can have and be both: fun and mature. It’s a matter of mindset and conscious choice. When I thought I was “having fun” in my late 20’s I was just following someone else’s idea of fun. I wasn’t checking in with myself and choosing from my own inner voice and truth.
So, What is FUN to you?