Arctic fox images found on a google search did not include foxes who had just eaten.
Seriously. It’s time to get serious about my quest for fun.
Not long ago I wrote about a personal discovery: This girl just wants to have fun. While that objective hasn’t changed the path getting there has. Some times solemnity slaps me across the face like a cold wet hand. It did this weekend.
Enjoying life and having fun is important to me, so important that I have been ignoring a simple fact: Having fun often involves effort, some times even blood, sweat and tears.
Last night a documentary on PBS showed a trap door spider in the desert of Namibia. I had no idea these spiders could roll themselves in a ball and then tumble downhill. Seeing Mr. Trap Door curl himself into a ball and zoom down a sand dune a scary mass of legs makes me laugh with delight. Mr. Trap Door isn’t playing. This is serious survival business. He is protecting himself. I can enjoy the scene from a safe distance. No predator is tracking me. The desert sun doesn’t bake me. (Although I was convinced I am melting in our puny summer heat.) Seeing a spider spiral down hill is amusing to me. It is not amusing to the spider.
Later, I coo at the film footage of arctic foxes. How adorable these creatures are. Fluffy, white, with faces that evoke tenderness, the foxes scamper across the snow hunting. Their beautiful white fur is stained bright red with the blood of their dinners. They use snow to wipe their fur clean. A hint of red remains. The adorable sit in a perfect juxtaposition with death. Do I allow this bloody reality to deprive me of the pleasure of their cuteness? No, I see what I want to see.
Often, in order to honor my desire to have fun, I see what I want to see. This selective blindness is not without value and yet, I realize that it was also holding me back.
There are those delightful moments when life serves up a dish of fun and brings it right to your table. . . but fun often involves a level of seriousness and effort. I have been trying to avoid applying any seriousness to my quest for fun. And, then, “the bell tolled for me.” It wasn’t really a bell. It was a fox with a bloody face and a trap door spider. There in between bells and foxes and spiders, I understood that I need to get serious about having fun. Fun requires some ground work.
1.) The right state of mind.
This takes a lot of work especially if my mind wants to default into pessimism and negative thinking. I’ve learned to tell my son to “change the station” when he starts down a line of depressive thinking. I used to try and “listen to the station” with him and it didn’t help him pull out of a downward spiral. It only added gasoline to the flame. I learned to encourage him to “change the station” to happy thoughts especially at the end of the day when it’s time for rest and our resilience is most apt to be challenged by fatigue. It’s simplistic cognitive reframing and it is surprisingly effective. I now use it on myself with great results.
In order to have fun, I’ve got to get ready for it. Finishing the tasks that are necessary so that I can really enjoy myself is so important. As much as I’d like to evolve into someone who finds everything fun, the reality is that I don’t. Procrastination brings a boat load of shame that docks near my soul. I don’t want it any where near me and yet, it lurks just off shore. The better prepared I become, the farther shame floats away.
3.) Establish a good support network.
I need fun friends. I also need honest ones who can help me see the truth when I’m busy avoiding it.
4.) Take care of self.
I haven’t been serious about taking care of myself. I’ve been so concerned with surviving the moment that I haven’t been preparing for the moments ahead in the best way how: taking care of me: Eating right. Getting enough sleep and exercise. Taking time for me time. Doing the work. It’s hard to have fun when I don’t feel well.
It’s time to get serious, to take myself and my quest seriously, to commit to creating the life that I want. I’m determined to have fun and I’m willing to pay the price. The alternative doesn’t appeal to me. Been there. Done that. Seriously? Seriously!