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The Missing Link

By Karen Vally on 12 Feb 2022

" True the feeling of being fully present and engaged, free from self-criticism and judgement. It is the thrill of losing ourselves in what we're doing and not caring about the outcome. It is laughter. It is playful rebellion. It is euphoric connection. It is the bliss that comes from letting go. When we are truly having fun, we are not lonely. We are not anxious or stressed. We are not consumed by self-doubt...There is a reason that our moments of True Fun stand out in our memories: True Fun makes us feel alive." 

What is it that makes us forget about the euphoria and exhileration that fun evokes? For what reason do we allow our work and our responsibilities to become so all-consuming, that we don't have time for this irresistible phenomenon? The author of, The Power of Fun, Catherine Price, says it's because we have allowed ourselves to be influenced by, "the efficiency cult." We think that if we've worked long hours, we've had a good day, despite the fact that we are so exhausted that all we're capable of doing at the end of the day, is flopping down on the couch, watching Netflix and eating convenience food.

Why do we feel so guilty about doing the things we enjoy? When will we realize that there will ALWAYS be something else to do? What would it take to bring us to our senses? What if we were to acknowledge that our time on this earth is finite?

Habits and routines make our lives more manageable, but they also create monotony and sometimes even boredom. How could we liberate ourselves from this monotony? Catherine Price says that the answer lies in understanding the Power of Fun and the potential it has to make us feel more alive.

"That's the downer of adulthood, right? We've trimmed a lot of things out of our life, even things we used to enjoy...because of some belief that we either don't enjoy them any longer, or don't have the space for them in our lives."

She suggests making space for True Fun by, "clearing mental and physical clutter. It means reducing resentment, letting go of unnecessary responsibilities and creating boundaries to protect your time and attention from people and companies (and apps) trying to steal it from you. It means building stillness and openness into your schedule so that you can have room for more moments of playfulness, connection and flow..."

In her book, she suggests that her readers use a Permission Slip, with the following words, to make fun happen: " I give myself permission to think about and prioritize my own fun without feeling selfish or irresponsible and I commit to doing so in a way that feels energizing and enjoyable."

" Once we understand what True Fun is and what it feels like - and make it a priority - not only will we find it easier to make wiser decisions about how we spend our time and attention in the moment, but the long-term effects will be life- changing." 

True Fun gets us out of our heads and into our hearts. It enhances our health and well-being by lowering our stress levels and  the risk of contracting a lifestyle disease. It increases our resilience and enhances our emotional well-being. It evokes a feeling of being connected to others. When we have fun,we become more loving partners, parents, relatives and friends, and more amiable colleagues and citizens. Our productivity improves and our creativity expands.

So, how do we introduce more fun into our lives? The author suggests that we, "zero in on what playful, connected flow feels like in our minds and bodies." Next, we need to get a sense of how much fun we're currently having, or not having. It might be helpful to start a "Fun Times Journal" in which we write down the activities, people and circumstances in which we experienced a sense of childlike playfulness.  It would also be useful to identify our "personal fun magnets," as well as our "anti-fun magnets."

"Once you've done that, you'll find yourself with less time to spend time on screens - and less of a desire to spend time on them to begin with - because you'll have a long list of things you'd rather be doing instead. Your phone will have been transformed in your mind from a temptation that you must resist, to an obstacle that's getting in the way of how you actually want to live."

"If we want to feel fully alive, it's essential that we try new things." She has some wonderful ideas, such as spending time writing down our responses to , "I'm interested in learning to...Things I used to do...I'd love to...I'm curious about..."

Our biggest stumbling block, as adults, is the fear of looking foolish. We are so plagued by perfectionism, that we have forgotten that if we're an absolute novice at something, we're unlikely to master it on our first attempt.

"People don't want to have a boring life, or even a boring conversation. They're just risk averse. If you create an environment where there's no reason to be afraid, all of a sudden things loosen up."

So, pursue your passions, interests and hobbies, seek and cultivate moments of delight and laughter as you would have done when you were a child, and keep at it.

The next time you find yourself scrolling and staring down  at your phone, remember, that you just might miss the signal that it's time to play. You wouldn't want to miss that opportunity would you, now that you've been reminded that it is such a powerful source of life-giving energy?

"I sometimes compare play to oxygen - it's all around us, yet it goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it's missing."   


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