A few years ago, a friend commented, “This is going to be my year of fun. Last year was a bit of a slog. This year I’m going to have fun on purpose.”
That captured my attention. My life had been a definite slog. I knew my circumstances at the time didn’t really allow for many planned activities, but I loved the idea that I could try to have fun on purpose.
Years later, I’m still thinking about ways to add fun to my life. There are a lot of things I do that bring me joy and contentment — reading, gardening, cooking — but they’re not necessarily fun. There’s some extra element that I’ve had trouble putting my finger on.
I think I might know what it is now. I recently heard about a book, “The Power of Fun” by Catherine Price. She writes that fun is at the intersection of play, connection and flow. Play is something lighthearted you do without worry about the outcome. Connection is pretty much what it sounds like — being connected to another person, a sense of place, a community, an animal, etc. Then there’s flow. That’s when you’re so involved with something you aren’t aware of time passing.
I notice that many of the things I enjoy involve play and flow, but not necessarily connection. They tend to be more solitary endeavors, which is great for my introverted soul, but I also need connection. This past weekend, I had a long list of things I wanted to do on my own. But my daughter also had things she wanted to do with me, which, of course, won out. As we were driving home from our time out together, I realized how much fun I’d had just being with her and doing those things together.
When putting together this issue, I loved going back through all of the ISPA Industry Conference photos and seeing all the familiar faces. Connecting with people at this event was fun. There were moments when I lost track of time. And there were moments of play, such as when several of us tried on Tambra Jones’ fabulous jacket and posed for photos. It’s always such an enjoyable event, and I’m so happy ISPA is able to host it again.
I’m also anticipating our trip to Cologne, Germany, for Interzum Cologne. Travel can be stressful, but it’s also incredibly fun. Stepping out of our comfort zones forces us into the present moment. Trying new things feels like play. And walking the halls of Koelnmesse is an exercise in connection. Yes, it’s work, but hopefully it will be fun, too.
Here’s to noticing all the moments when play, connection and flow come together. I hope, in spite of whatever stressful events are going on in your lives, that you find a way to have fun on purpose.