The room was packed with young and vibrant people. The music was loud, with a funky soulful sweetness. Drinks were flowing, energy was high, and the night was filled with the possibility for fun and connection. Artists on stage sang from their hearts, audience members swayed and danced freely, and then there was me.
I stood in the middle of it, and yet I felt like I wasn’t there. My body moved, my hands clapped, my mouth smiled and cheered. But somehow, I was missing out on what the people around me were experiencing. I wasn’t having fun. I was worrying about all the things I had to get done. And what’s even worse than not having fun? Wanting it so bad, but not being able to find it even when the circumstances were perfect.
My disappointment sunk in. Oh dear, I’ve forgotten how to have fun like this. Was I really that boring a person that I couldn’t even enjoy an amazing live concert on a Friday night out with friends? What was wrong with me?
Nothing was wrong…I’d just lost my fun mojo for a moment.* It’s something that happens to the best of us. When we work really hard all day long, we’re focused and driven, and it can be hard to transition out of that success driven state and into a free spirited, fun-loving energy at the snap of our fingers. There is nothing fun about being out for happy hour while you know you’ve got 1,001 things on your to-do list, an assignment due by 8am, and 7 loads of laundry waiting for you at home. It’s extremely hard to put those things aside, be present, and give yourself permission to let go and simply enjoy.
*Note: I LOVE my job and what I do so much, that I feel like I get to have fun all day long while I’m working. The challenge I was facing: How do I have fun when I’m not working? I had forgotten how to do that. Can you relate?
Fun is defined as enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure. What a wonderful addition it is to our days! Can you imagine living without fun? I see a bleak and gray existence, devoid of laughter and play. Who wants to live life like that?
Like most of the things we want in life (happiness, love, and fulfillment), fun doesn’t come from outer circumstances or environments. Certainly being around your best friends or at your favorite tequila bar can help, but those things do not ensure a fun experience. You have to find your own enjoyment and pleasure from within. When you find that, anything and everything can be fun for you.
So, how do you go about finding it?
The first place to look is where you already experience fun in your life, or look to your past for moments of it. For me, I have so much fun working, I started there. For you, maybe there is a certain person or group of people you always enjoy being around. Or maybe, there’s an activity that brings you much enjoyment. With those people or experiences in mind answer the following questions:
- What is it about this person (these people) or this experience that brings you so much joy?
- In those moments when you are having fun, or have had fun in the past, how did you feel? (be specific)
- Why is it that you are able to have fun in that particular instance, but not in others?
I’ll give you my answers as an example. My work brings me so much joy, because it allows me to be all of who I am, and allows me to connect with and inspire others. I feel uplifted, energized, and happy when I’m coaching and teaching. I not only have fun, I feel that that time being spent is worthwhile and impactful. Sometimes I feel guilty when I try to have fun in other ways, because I feel it’s just not as important (the light bulb went off for me when I realized this!)
One of the main reasons we don’t have fun is we don’t allow ourselves to. We hold onto limiting beliefs that we haven’t worked hard enough yet, and we don’t deserve it. Or we are only allowed to have fun in very particular settings or circumstances, and beyond that pleasure and enjoyment are inappropriate. In my case, unless I was inspiring people or making a positive impact, fun seemed silly and extraneous (and almost like a waste of my time.) What is your limiting belief about fun? How is it holding you back?
Fun is the fuel for happiness. Yet, we’ve become a culture addicted to success or achievement, and sometimes we forget that we deserve to be happy and feel pleasure. There is nothing wrong with it, and often there is no simpler way to enjoy life. If you want a more gratifying life, release those limiting beliefs and replace them with these mantras for fun and enjoyment:
- I deserve and am capable of having fun whenever I desire.
- I can and do find ways to find enjoyment in each and every moment.
- I am a fun-loving person whom others enjoy being around.
- I make fun a priority in my life, because it brings me and others pleasure and joy.
- The world is a better place when I and others have more fun in our lives.
Fun doesn’t need to be an afterthought. It doesn’t start after 5pm, or after you’ve finished that big project. It’s inside of you, and you simply have to give yourself permission to release it and enjoy it. Now go and have a good time!