How did life get so serious? It’s time for a little more fun in my life.
Years ago, I played more games, did goofy things, and laughed more often than I do now, and I didn’t take life so seriously. The fun quotient in my life may have gone down because of years of responsibility, times of stress, unmet desires that I feel compelled to meet, too much routine, or maybe after Covid lockdowns, I’ve just gotten out of the habit of seeking fun.
When I noticed a book called The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again by Catherine Price, I picked it up. Price’s definition of “True Fun” is: “…the confluence of playfulness, connection, and flow. Whenever these three states occur at the same time, we experience True Fun.” (p. 32) She contrasts true fun with fake fun, often a solo activity involving the screens of our phones, tablets, or computers. (Price also wrote the book How to Break Up with Your Phone, which I haven’t read but agree with its premise.) Doom scrolling is not fun, and a distracted mind cannot fully process all of the information it’s absorbing. “Whereas flow rejuvenates us, time confetti makes us exhausted. Trying to hold too many things in our heads at one time taxes our working memories and leaves us drained.” (p. 59)
In cooking up some fun, playfulness, connection and flow are the ingredients, according to Price. Connection, participating in a joyful experience with another person, nature or an activity, and flow, being so engrossed in something that you lose track of time, are generally not an issue for me. But play, that’s a different story.
Price quotes psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott, writing in Playing and Reality, “It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality.” My husband and I used to play tennis, golf, and softball, went bowling, played backgammon, took bike rides, and attended all kinds of plays, concerts, and parties. It was fun! It seems that part of my personality has atrophied.
We’re attempting to change that. Now, on an evening when there’s nothing else going on but reading and watching a little television, we play a few games of ping-pong or challenge each other to a game of scrabble, and we’re going to re-learn how to play backgammon. Yes, it’s been so long that we can’t even remember how to set up the board. Sad.
Other ideas for fun improvement that Price covers are questions to determine a baseline fun frequency (mine needs improvement), finding fun magnets, fun factors, recognizing anti-fun factors, reminding yourself of fun every night, indulging in a little harmless rebellion, and learning to recognize delight.
Price writes, “If we train ourselves to notice delights – the everyday beauties and kindnesses and amusing absurdities, the things that make us laugh or that we feel grateful for – we will feel more positive. If we pay attention to sources of playfulness, connection and flow, we’ll have more fun. And once we get started it’s easier than we may think.” (p. 232)
Using Price’s definition of “true fun,” it occurs to me that God always has fun. He is forever connected with us in the most intimate and unique ways. He is always completely engrossed in his activity and suffers no distractions. Play, once again, is a little trickier. As I wrote in a post a number of years ago, God demonstrated playfulness in creation and in Scripture, and he created us in his image, with the potential for good belly laughs, enjoying games, delighting in each other and his creation.
Therefore, in a surprising revelation, I believe that God is the source of all true fun. In writing this piece, I experienced the joy of new understanding, was in the flow of putting words together, played around with ideas and moved paragraphs around, and felt connected to God. It was delightful!
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you will his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”Zephaniah 3:17
What do you do for fun? Have you ever thought about God having fun?