This last summer while visiting the boys, I noticed quickly how much they were defining fun while not actually expressing joy. I recognized this pattern and how long our family has been defining moments of fun through what we were doing and not what we were being. The boys and I had a little banter back and forth around this topic and then I said to them, Let’s play a game and see how much fun we can have. Let’s find our fun.
What does fun mean to you?
When I asked my son, what is fun, he went through a list of doing;
- Going on a hike
- Riding bikes
- Playing basketball
- Going to the movies
- Playing games and so on
And then he went on to define me, to tell me who I was in the fun category. How my level of being fun is based on my choice in the participation of doing. I sat back and experienced this for a moment. It took me to the resistance I have had in my past with my dad and both of my husbands, all who defined fun though doing, where I was judged by my willingness to do or not do with them. That played a huge role in my judgements of me, wrongness, enjoyment and fun. Fun always looked like work in my view, a chore, as though I was required to like it. Where is the choice in that?
I laugh thinking back to my childhood perspective, how lucky I was and how much I hated it. Today, I am incredibly grateful for all I was able to experience, for my connection to nature and love of the outdoors and as a young teen without choice, I couldn’t find joy in it any of it.
My family was always doing something; exploring Yosemite, skiing, sailing, camping, the coast, amusement parks and so much more. My dad would always say, if you’re not having fun, you’re not living and his idea of that was doing. Some of the biggest fights with my exes were also about the doing. We don’t like the same things, you don’t like to have fun, blah blah blah.
How many times have you judged someone else based on their willingness to like what you like, enjoy what you enjoy and see what you see the way you see it?
The “fun game” with the boys became more of a laughing game, and in the beginning there was a lot of judgment in whether or not something was fun based on all the definitions we had in place. While driving in the car and playing with different voices and funny things to say in different voices, we were all laughing hard. There were tears, loss of breath and three really loud, raw voices expressing pure joy. Then a moment of silence came and I said, hey guys, guess what, we are having fun right now.
That was the beginning of the game that freed our time together and created more fun than we could imagine, deeper connection to each other and space to wonder. That time with the boys opened me up to understand this joy in me and the expression of it, to see how much I am me and free and the letting go of defining, doing and trying, created actual fun, moment by moment fun in random different forms. Some in the doing, some in the everyday and all in the being.
Where are you stuck in no fun, by all of the definitions of fun, that keep you locked in doing, where being is actually the fun you are desiring?