Fun? FUN!!! I remember years ago when I worked for a pharmaceutical company as a Nurse Marketer, I would get in trouble all the time. The job was dull. A huge change from working in Pediatrics for the last 15 years.
Why was I getting in trouble you ask? For one thing, I had a habit of telling jokes in front of my colleagues and pranking my former boss. At the time, I was also performing stand-up comedy and comedic storytelling on various stages in Hollywood, California.
I felt like a fish out of water in the pharmaceutical world. I was a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner working with a bunch of people wearing suits who talked like robots. It was no fun!
Hiring me to work in the pharmaceutical industry is kind of like hiring a clown to perform at an old folk’s home. I really didn’t fit in. To this day, I’m not sure why my former boss, a pharmaceutical sales manager and not a nurse, hired me. Perhaps he hired me because I was ‘fun!’
Having Fun Makes Us Happy
Of course, we all could use more fun in our lives! Americans are constantly in pursuit of happiness. Catherine Price, the author of the book “The Power of Fun. How to Feel Alive Again,” suggests that having and incorporating more fun in your life will produce more happiness. She further suggests that having fun will increase the likely hood of feeling good in the future.
Depression Is an Epidemic
Overall, depression in the United States is on the rise. At least 10 % of Americans currently suffer from depression. Additionally, researchers are claiming that depression has now reached epidemic levels equivalent to the flu. Surprisingly, from 2015 to 2020, depression was ranked the highest in adolescents aged 12 and older. The cause of depression has been blamed on the increased feeling of helplessness and economic distress. Furthermore, many researchers speculate the cause of depression is an increased use of screen time and a lack of human social interaction.
Technology and Infinite Distractions
Our brains have been hijacked with a variety of meaningless distractions. Many people are addicted to their smartphones and devices. In essence, technology has taken over as a main source of entertainment and distracts us from life leaving many to feel dull and dead inside. Catherine Price writes in her book refers to this in her book as being ‘fake fun.’
Fun Helps Us Flourish
Catherine Price interviewed many researchers when she wrote “The Power of Fun.” She found that “When humans flourish, they are in a state of optimal human functioning in which we feel engaged, open, purposeful, self-accepting, resilient, robust, motivated and satisfied. “
When humans are in ‘survival mode,’ fight or flight, or working to live, we tend to get stressed which may lead to depression. We are not in flow. And that’s when our bodies may start to break down in a state of ‘dis-ease.’
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid, the basic human needs, located at the bottom of the pyramid, are physiological requirements and safety which include food, water, warmth, adequate rest, security, and physical safety. When many people are in work mode, all they can do is stay stuck at this level.
Undoubtedly, to climb up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid and achieve ‘self-actualization’ achieving one’s true potential, we need to include friendships, belonging, love, and increased self-esteem to allow us to grow and flourish.
Making True Fun A Priority
In Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” protagonist Jack Torrance, a burnt-out writer, sits at a typewriter and obsessively types out the same phrase over and over again, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
What makes the average working adult not have fun and become dull? Catherine Price states that she had succumbed to what she calls a ‘time value paradox,’ only placing priority and value on activities that brought in money or were productive. Once Catherine started to treat ‘True Fun’ as a priority in her life, she felt like she was flourishing.
What is True Fun?
“The times we feel most alive, those that make up our best memories are moments of play,” states Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play. For children, the art of play and having fun is normal and necessary for their brain development. But as we grow up to be adults, for some reason play and having fun are no longer seen as important. Brown describes ‘play’ as anything that can be absorbing and purposeless.
Price describes ‘True Fun’ as a mood-boosting and energizing state. Some signs to watch for include:
- A sense of release/ freedom/letting go
- Feeling like you’re having a special shared experience
- Losing track of time
- Feeling free from self judgment and self-consciousness
- Feeling like you’ve stepped out of the normal
- Being fully absorbed into the present moment
- Not caring too much about the outcome
- A feeling of childlike excitement and joy
- A positive boost in energy
- Feeling yourself
How to Add More Fun to Your Life
The best thing to do is take a self-inventory and evaluate what your passions, interests and hobbies are. Whether it’s playing with Legos, painting, taking guitar lessons, enrolling in a storytelling class, or experimenting with standup comedy, you should be having FUN.
When you pick up a new hobby and or passion, make sure you are doing it for fun. I have picked up many exciting interests. In the beginning, they were fun, and I even found myself in that ‘true fun’ state. But over time some of these activities were no longer fun. I gave myself permission to drop them or take a break. Sometimes, I explore another type of fun which helps to evolve and expand my creativity.