Is it okay to have fun for the sake of having fun? In this age of taking responsibility for the environment, our health, the state of the world, and working multiple careers to get ahead, when is it acceptable to take a break and just get silly? Are we even allowed such frivolities when all is dark and gloomy and oh-so serious in the world? Who is deciding for you what is acceptable behavior? Perhaps a program on television, your mother, a teacher, or a stern voice inside your head is the advice you are listening. When is it okay to let your serious face take some time off just to feel good for no other reason than feeling good? And if a few frown lines are erased in the meantime, isn’t that enough motivation?
This is a dilemma that faces some of us guilt-ridden types on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. This is when the phrase “Guilt is a useless emotion” should be repeated to oneself, often. Do you remember ever feeling guilty as a child for having fun? Wasn’t having fun a natural part of being a child? When did that change? Who made up the rules the fun stops when you grow up? Yes, being a grown-up does limit the amount of time allotted to play-time, but on the other hand, I’ve seen real live grown-ups having way too much fun working, not just on their days off. I know a grown-up who works in a gas station and cranks up the music and sings out loud and it makes me smile just thinking about how much fun this person is having. Isn’t it time we all incorporated more fun into our day and maybe, we might feel a bit sunnier in the process? Smile and laugh more often? Experience less stress-induced acid reflux and miserable migraines?
Truly, having healthy fun – whatever that means to you – is an integral part of a satisfying, balanced life. If a marshmallow war seems silly, that is exactly the point. Laughing hysterically with a friend, dressing up in your wildest Halloween costume for Halloween, or taking a spontaneous day trip to explore a nearby town – can take you out of a safe, predictable routine and give you fresh perspective and insight on the world around you. And possibly make those insurmountable problems you’ve been gnashing your teeth over in your sleep transform into tiny pathetic mole hills.
Taking a risk and trying something new that sounds fun, but kind of scares you, may give you new confidence and allow you to relax, let down your defenses, and enjoy some of the good things in life. Parasailing over a lake, zip-lining down a mountain, or breaking into a crazy dance with your spouse in the middle of the grocery store cracks a hole in mundane reality and restores joy to all involved. Every one of us deserves a little fun – the people that seem to be having all the fun are the people who go out there and, like Nike says, just do it. Without asking for anyone’s permission!
*This article was previously published in my Feel Good column
*Photo Credit: Steve Baldwin