“Happiness is there for the taking–and making “ Oprah
When was the last time you did something just because it was fun? I was out to dinner last weekend with my husband, long-term friends and a new couple (guests of our friends). The female newcomer was also recently retired. She shared with us that she was giving up bocce ball because she was too competitive. She couldn’t sleep worrying about matches. Her angst over games had started interfering with her marriage. The bocce team she and her husband participated on won the city championship this year. They brought home a gold medal to join a room of gold medals from previous years. In other words, bocce was a shared activity at which both she and her husband excelled but her competitive spirit had taken away the fun. Unable to harness her competitive ways, she chose to quit the sport.
Also, this week I received an email from a disgruntled parent about my daughter’s coed soccer team. The parent didn’t feel our volunteer coach was providing adequate guidance and we weren’t winning enough games. To be accurate, I don’t think the team has won any games. I was astonished to receive this email because I feel fortunate to have a “volunteer” coach. The team can’t play without a regular coach and the rest of us are either too old, too unschooled at soccer, or too busy with work to volunteer. Independent of the notion of complaining about a volunteer when the rest of us hid in corners when asked to help out, co-ed soccer is to be played for “fun”. Unlike club or school soccer, co-ed is intended to provide an opportunity for young men and women to interact on the field and learn to play nicely together. My daughter has been attending practices regularly, even though she can’t play because of a major injury last spring. She goes because she has fun.
Many years ago on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were driving from Disney Land to Sacramento for a traditional family celebration. We had driven for four hours with two little kids in the backseat whining all the way and we hadn’t even inched half-way across Los Angeles because of the holiday traffic. My husband, Pete, looked at me and said, “Are we having fun yet?” The answer was a clear, “No!” But we were certainly trying hard to get to “Yes!”
We all have the human capacity to pursue fun for the pure joy of emotional escape. We know the heady feeling of spontaneous laughter and the calming quiet of rest after an exhilarating day. But we seldom ask ourselves are we having fun? We execute our careers successfully moving towards clear goals. We strategize about which people to meet and network with to get ahead. We watch and play games to win. We make bucket lists of what we want to accomplish before we die. We carefully plot out expensive trips to foriegn locales. But we infrequently say to each other let’s just be silly. Let’s have fun.
My son, Scott, excels at having a good time. This summer he entered a pinewood derby race at a local pub “just for fun”. He brought home the small cardboard box with a chunk of wood and four wheels the night before the race and transformed it into the “Weenie Wagon” with a few hours effort.
My husband, Scott’s friends, and I all went downtown to see the big event. When we got there, I learned I could buy a pre-made red car, “Robin Red” for $10. Scott’s best friend from grade school, Daniel, piloted my vehicle. Both cars won one heat and then we were up against each other. The “Weenie Wagon” with it’s outrageous design beat out my more traditionally styled racer (no wonder it was so cheap). The Weenie Wagon went down to defeat in the next heat. But spending a glorious night in Boise outside racing cars with young men was FUN! Later, Scott won the award for most creative vehicle name and a $100 gift card much to our delight (Good Karma runs on the male side of our family).
Also, this week I received a picture of Scott’s new hair do. He moved from a man bun described in a blog this summer to a bird’s nest. He texted that several freshman have opted for similar hair cuts. You know the old saying “Birds of a feather flock together.” When I opened the my son’s text it made me LOL.
In retirement, I am trying out new activities and undertaking lots of silly ventures. I get asked a lot “Why are you doing THAT?” My answer is, “For fun”.
I am finding out where my joy resides. I am taking Robert Louis Stevenson’s advice and giving joy “a voice”. This week I might soak in the sun, smell the coffee, listen to the rain, read a good book, play with pets, visit friends or go to a movie. My one promise to myself is to have fun.