The Year of Fun #3: A Magazine and (Many) Cups of Tea
You may recall last week I declared I booked my barista training.
But, as I sat on the bus, 10 minutes away, I randomly checked my emails and – oh – the guy who was training me, cancelled.
I’m not sure if it was a hangover (this is 9 am on a Sunday) or if he genuinely was sick, but I sadly accepted my fate: a long Sunday with nothing scheduled.
And because I have you to report to, keeping me accountable for my ‘year of fun’ I had to come up with a plan.
The problem was, it was pissing down with rain, and the idea of traipsing anywhere outside my cosy little home… did not appeal.
l learned a new word that perfectly describes this weather: Gluggavedur – this is an Icelandic term to describe weather that is best enjoyed from being inside: i.e. where it’s warm and dry.
The only thing that was definitely on the cards was a reluctant food shop. What could I buy there which could be a source of fun? Other than Krispy Kreme donuts?
It came to me: a magazine!
This is an odd indulgence I’ve considered fun since I used to subscribe to both a Dinosaur mag and one that Nickelodeon produced. Both of these rocked my world age 7.
Now my idea of a magazine worth buying generally revolves around home decor or crafts.
The selection wasn’t great, but I spotted one that was new to me, called In the Moment. The extortionately priced pad of printed paper was added to my shopping basket and I went home to spend the rest of the day indoors, moving between my bed and my desk.
Safe to say I did not hit my step count.
Now, this could be the dullest episode in the entire series of my Year of Fun but: I do have a few insights to share with you:
1) I have some serious guilt around doing things for pure pleasure when I could be working or learning or challenging myself in some way.
I very rarely have a full day with no plans, and rather than basking in that freedom, it kind of panicked me.
When I ultimately settled down with my tea & magazine, I definitely started to enjoy myself, but there was still a nagging feeling that someone might jump out from my wardrobe and yell “Get back to work, yooou slacker!”
I know. Crazy right?
Ironically (I think it was ironic, I’m never sure how to use that word even though Alanis Morisette has given us so many contextual examples…)
Ironically, there was an article in the mag about how hard it is for many of us to take real time off even at weekends.
2) It also made me think about last week and how challenge, when it’s too extreme, can really such the fun out of an activity for me. On the other hand, when it’s too low, I’m left feeling a bit… empty.
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my lazy Sunday – it was delicious – but at the end of the day, I didn’t have that feeling of satisfaction: the afterglow of doing something that mattered.
It’s basically confirmed for me Martin Seligman’s theory on ‘Authentic Happiness’, or his updated terminology ‘Well-being’
For Seligman, the formula for this ultimate state of being is:
Positive Emotion – pleasure
Engagement – flow state
Relationships – people
Meaning – higher purpose, being part of something bigger than yourself
Accomplishment – winning in some way, achieving a goal
The magazine and tea fuelled Sunday I had hit 2 out of 5 of these – I experienced positive emotion and a small amount of engagement or flow.
So maybe I’ll be taking into account these 5 factors more into my fun activities: may be I’ll devise my own… who knows!
My fun rating: 4/10 – high pleasure, but low on the satisfaction afterglow.
Next weeks fun is not coming from the Jar of Fun I’m afraid because I already have something quite fun – I hope – planned. I’m packing my bag and heading to Northern Spain for the weekend.
Specifically, a region called Asturias. It’s a bit of a hidden gem at least to ignorant tourists like me, and famous for it’s cider. Yum.
So I’m guessing I’ll find some fun there, and report back to you next week!
And if you happen to be from Spain or as unlikely as it is, Asturias, let me know if you have any tips or suggestions for me to try out on my travels!