I currently don’t know how to have fun. I really don’t. I could come up with a million reasons why I never learned. But it doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t. I do things I think are useful or mildly productive and then take breaks from being productive by doing whatever will help me shut my brain off. Often TV. Often not something I find fun. I sometimes even try to watch documentaries because they seem to have a hint of productivity to them. There is this voice in my head after about 5 hours of Netflix trying to justify the next 5 “Hey! Look at me! I’m learning something new and useful -ish. I’m NOT wasting life. So I can’t really feel guilty about being logged on to Netflix all day. Right? Woot!” I have realized that recently I have started deconstructing the stories and ideas behind movies to figure out what makes them unique or successful. This has definetly ruined game of thrones for me. But hey it’s productive. It gets me thinking about what I have learnt in business school and how people might have applied it in the “real world” ( AKA HOLLYWOOD).
And this was working out just fine for a while. At least on the outside. I was miserable on the inside. Always had been. Just never knew why. I’m beginning to think it’s the inability to do things just because they are fun. Let’s look at the past for some clues shall we?
I grew up in the middle east. Basically a desert with schools and buildings and stuff. As a kid growing up in Qatar, a vastly different world then than it is now, you woke up, you went to school, you came home. You did your homework and watched TV until it was time to sleep. If you played sports at school it was during GYM class or because you were training to compete against teams from other schools. If you found me outside my house after school it was probably because I was attending a toast masters meeting, learning grammar (after school, at some club, I know, honestly though it was probably the best use of my time), or practising to host an event at school or at the aforementioned club. Yes I was that kid. The one constantly high on being an over achiever.
At home, where I was most of the time, mom and my younger brother were my best friends. We played chess (I always lost. I hate that game). We played video games (meh). At some point I got to swim and was taught to play tennis. I believe those activities were meant for weight loss than anything else. While I don’t remember why I was signed up for tennis, I remember loving swimming. I loved the way my body felt in the water. So light. So peaceful. Like I was one with the universe. I even enjoyed it, until I realized I could do what I love and lose weight (If you haven’t guessed it yet, a lot of my childhood revolved around losing weight). It wouldn’t feel like a chore, unlike karate or tennis classes. It was the perfect solution. Thus began the 200 laps per evening challenge.
I figured if I could push myself to exhaustion I would be burning the maximum number of calories and doing the best I could to lose weight. And if I did the best I could, I would most definetly succeed. Right? Nope. My simple mind didn’t comprehend that there were factors outside of my good intentions and hard work that would control the outcome. Like motivation. Or lack there of. I did it for a while. The 200 laps / evening. Until it just wasn’t worth it anymore. It definetly wasn’t fun. Without the fun, I just wasn’t motivated to swim anymore. I began to fear the ride to the pool. So I stopped all together.
And I have repeated this cycle countless times since then. I pick something up because I find it fun. In order to deal with the guilt (I’m wasting time by having fun) I try to give it a “productive” spin. It becomes a chore. And my love for it quickly dies. So I basically kill any chance of happiness I have by making everything a chore.
After much deliberating I figured it’s time to kill the cycle before it kills me. My new aim in life is to learn to have fun. While I was trying to figure out where to start in order to go about acquiring this skill, my best friend and soul mate suggested a simple yet effective solution.
” Get out of your head. Don’t overthink it. It’s life, so instead of thinking about it, live it. Fun, like life, needs to be lived. Go try things you think would be fun. If you like them, continue doing them. If you don’t like them, stop and go try doing something else. “
I am grossly paraphrasing bdw.
So I figured I would take his simple yet profound advice, get out of my head and go have fun. I know it sounds silly but to me it will be like learning how to ride a bike. Maybe harder. I got a handle on riding a bike pretty quickly as a kid. I also fractured my knee because I was so good at it that I decided to try doing stunts on it. A story for another time.
To make it more interesting I figured I would make a blogging project out of it. I realize that “project” sounds productive. Old habits die hard. However by committing (like productive, a very boring word) to doing this, I’m less likely to fall of the bandwagon (seriously, the whole productivity thing is running through my veins. I need a blood transfusion) Details of this simple “project” are as follows.
I will do one thing for fun (outside of blogging) every week and blog about it on a weekly basis until the end of this year. If that doesn’t teach me how to have fun, I don’t know what will.