I hope this finds you refreshed after a blessed Easter and a week of enjoying some fun.
I feel like if you don’t know me outside of this blog you might think that I am a pretty serious person. I am and always have been pretty intense— fiery, confident, opinionated, passionate, convicted, and sometimes still a little wild.
It still makes my heart happy when I recall my kids telling me that one thing they love about me is that I “laugh about almost everything.” I am the person that funny friends love to have around to giggle at all of their silly jokes. I laugh when others laugh. I can laugh while shaking my head at the immaturity of my brothers or my two teen boys. I have always even (awkwardly, uncomfortably) laughed when I am most definitely not supposed to—at funerals, weddings, and when trying to play a clarinet duet with my best friend for the entire church in 8th grade.
I love to have fun. I have grown to be more reflective, contemplative, and serious—but I never want to lose my lighter side. I never want to stop valuing fun.
I have learned through the years that everyone looks at fun differently. I see fun as a multifaceted prism of options, some that connect to make beautiful rainbows and some that stand dormant, waiting for their turn to shine.
Fun is defined as “enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure.” This could look like a vacation with the family, a rowdy Badger football tailgate with friends, a night of drinks and dancing, a comedy show, or watching our kids do what they love… or it could be our team showing up to conquer a common goal of racing hard, trying new things, a sweaty fitness class with crushing intervals, or a scary haunted house. I don’t feel that fun is synonymous with easy. If you have taken a cycling or bootcamp class led by me you know exactly what I mean… how many times have I said, “I have such a FUN workout planned for you today!” And then crushed you, leaving you laying on the floor in a pool of sweat afterward? With a huge smile on your face, talking about how much you enjoyed it. (When it’s done)
Recently, world circumstances have made life often feel hard and heavy. Isolation has bred loneliness and we have lost our sense of community. Conflicts have been stirred up. Things often haven’t been as enjoyable or amusing. Life has not been filled with as much lighthearted pleasure. This has been a vital time for humanity to stay safe, protect others, explore our own convictions, and learn about our own biases. This is important. But, life is not meant to be lived in “either/or,” but in “both/and.” We can be intentionally pursing change and find ways to laugh and have fun.
How do you have fun? Is fun a spontaneous escape or are you intentional about it? Do you find people that you enjoy to experience it with? Do you fully plant yourself in the fun moments in order to fully feel the joy? To laugh until your ab muscles hurt? To feel the electricity of lively pleasure coursing through your body and soul?
Of course you need to know you and what you love to do in order to fully experience all that fun has to offer. Your fun should make you feel filled up and energized in some way.
In this season of my life, I find training and racing to truly be fun. I can experience the pain of an interval along with the fun of knowing that I am testing and strengthening my body. I find it fun to be fully connected to myself. I feel alive.
I find it fun to encourage others by racing alongside them. I have loved traveling to see other places on foot and/or on my bike. I love the camaraderie of racing- connecting with others not out of convenience, but out of a common goal that brings value to all of our lives.
I wrote most of this blog with a huge smile on my face, reflecting on fun and laughing to myself on some memories of laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants. And the times it wasn’t “nearly”…
Life is serious. And, life is not.
Do you feel detached from laughter and fun? Here is an exercise that might help:
- Scroll through your old pictures and pause on the ones that make you smile, laugh, or remind you of fun.
- While still looking at that photo, let your mind drift back into that moment and connect with how you feel in your body.
- Ask yourself these questions: Was I fully present? What made that fun for me? Was it joyful? Was it encouraging? Was it light hearted? Was it something I enjoy?
You will never get those exact moments again so don’t aim to recreate them. They are archived in those photos and saved in your mind as memories. But, you can take the memory of those feelings and believe that you can go out and have fun again. If it’s not easily happening spontaneously, make an intentional plan to seek it out and experience it. Go into the moments without specific expectations and plant yourself fully in the moment to be vulnerable and open however it unfolds. Do you need to make some changes to experience joy again? Sometimes the first step is believing that it is possible.
Create a mindset that allows for some laughter and fun. Be present. You don’t want to miss the lighter side of life.