November 9, 2018

Are we having fun yet?

Women on a swing in front of ocean, having fun.

A couple of years ago I was doing a daily workout with a Facebook group and one day instead of a workout the instruction was to go play. Just have fun, they said. And here are the thoughts that came rushing to my mind, have fun? Go play? With who? How? What would that even look like? Just give me my workout…I don’t have time for fun.

The issue of time 

“I don’t have time for fun” is a lie I was telling myself that got busted when I looked closely at how I was actually spending my days.

My epiphany was that while I was getting my work done and spending quality time with my family, I was also wasting so much time on things that didn’t matter to me and those things – like robotically checking and scrolling through social media and email – had become programmed into my day without me consciously choosing them.

When I saw that clearly, I also realized how isolating working at home could be. A whole week might go by without me speaking to a friend.

For me, connecting with others is fun. So I started making an effort to do more connecting outside of work and family: texting friends, making phone dates, making a plan to have a coffee or go for a walk. I felt a lot happier even just seeing these bright spots in my calendar.

But I don’t even know what’s fun for me

Maybe you already know exactly what it is that feels fun and playful to you. If so, feel free to skip this section.

Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author, podcaster, and happiness researcher, has this to say about fun:

“What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.”

There’s no point in filling your schedule with activities that you think you should enjoy but you don’t.

If you’re at a loss about what fun even is for you, a possible step could be to think back to the last time you remember thinking “this is fun!”. It’s okay if you have to go a long way back…even all the way to childhood. In fact, that’s a great place to start. What type of play did you enjoy as a little kid? Chances are there is a grown-up version of that.

You could also brainstorm a list of things you might enjoy:

  • Going for a walk with a friend
  • Game night
  • Team sports
  • Improv or acting
  • Dancing
  • Going to a movie
  • Trivia night
  • Cosplay
  • Singing in a choir
  • Painting or doing some other kind of art
  • Snuggling up with a good book
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Crafts
  • Journalling
  • Road trips and adventure
  • Lunch or dinner with friends
  • Camping
  • Going to art galleries or museums
  • Going to the theatre
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Bird watching
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Stargazing
  • Book club or some other group activity
  • Rock climbing
  • Yoga

There is no right answer and the possibilities are endless so make the list your own, add to it, cross out the things you have no interest in, and then circle a few things you’d like to try. 

Take a playful approach and keep an open mind. If something doesn’t hit the mark move on to the next. 

Schedule it

Fun and recreation are often the first things to go when life gets busy so once you figure out what lights you up, it’s important to commit to it if you want more of it in your life.

It’s not unheard of for me to say no to something fun because I’m too busy and then spend the same amount of time on Instagram.

If it’s a recurring event in your calendar then you can stop thinking about it and it becomes part of the routine. 

Fun is a thing we do but it’s also a perspective

If fun is important to you (and I hope it is), it might be freeing to remember that it’s something you can bring to every part of your day and life.

Even the most routine, boring tasks can be viewed from the perspective of fun.

If you start looking at tasks, relationships, and events that way and ask, “how can I make this more fun?” you’ll find you have multiple opportunities to honour your value of fun throughout the day.

Sara Smeaton Coaching SS-177 Photo by Marina Dempster
Hi, I'm Sara!

I'm here to reclaim the term 'midlife' and embrace the power these years offer us.

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Sara Smeaton Coaching SS-177 Photo by Marina Dempster


Sara Smeaton

Sara Smeaton is a certified professional coach and facilitator who helps midlife women follow their dreams after forty. She works privately with clients in Canada, the US and the UK.

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