” People rarely succeed unless they have fun with what they are doing.” Dale Carnegie
I will never forget the response I had when I was 26 years old, and a therapist asked me what I did for fun.
I was in therapy because it seemed like everyone in my family had some form of mental illness – bi-polar, schizophrenic, OCD, alcoholic, anxiety, you name it, they had it.
I was in therapy because I was the single mother of a 3 year old, and I felt like I was drowning, and I was scared that my coping mechanisms would mean that I would finally reveal my crazy.
So this therapist, who was skilled and wonderful and warm and reassuring, after telling me that I did not have any diagnosable mental illness, then asked me what I did for myself. He asked me what I did for fun.
I burst into tears.
My life had been so hectic and busy and I had been so scared and uncertain and living paycheck-to-paycheck and often not even doing that much. I worked full time, had my child full time, and was in school full time.
I hadn’t thought about myself in three years, and I had completely lost connection with what brought me joy. Let me be clear – I love my daughter – she was and is amazing and inspiring and my north star, but it’s hard to do anything for yourself when you are caring for a toddler. I forgot who I was, and what I liked, and felt like fun was so secondary to doing what was critically important, which was keeping our little boat floating on the water. Food, rent, shoes/clothes. Repeat.
One of the issues that I continue to address in my own life, and in the energy of the clients that I see is that we are losing our sense of play. We take life way to seriously. We take ourselves way too seriously. We feel defined by our choices and if they lead to success or failure, we feel defined by those labels.
So many of us have lost the truth that we are supported and loved, and that life is one great big experiment in joy and divinity. We do not need to get ourselves entrenched in a single track, and define ourselves so narrowly.
When I look at how I play now, I realize that I am learning how to play at play. I still take everything too seriously. I still forget that I don’t have to fix anything, or make everything work, or fix other people’s pain and suffering. I have to remember that all of this life is a gift, not a struggle, and that all of this life is an opportunity to expand with joy into everything that this world has to offer.
I now keep a coloring book with glitter pencils on my coffee table. I have a my little pony stuffed animal on my bed. I am learning to release timelines, rules and tension about how things happen in my life.
I am learning to accept freedom and limitless potential into my life. I am learning fun, and the byproduct of this is so much joy and freedom. How do you embrace fun?