Another Year of Fun – another thing or two I’ve learned about FUN!
Firstly, I have a confession to make.
I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately… nothing serious, just a bit of apathy that I know will pass.
What’s weird is that things that might have excited me and challenged me and delighted me in the past, aren’t quite doing the job this time.
Do you ever experience this? I’m sure, if you’re human, you do. It’s not a feeling that says something’s wrong, or even that there’s a problem to solve. In some ways, I’d love a problem to solve – as long as it means I can get fired up about it.
Instead, I’m left with a vague sense of impatience and craving, but without any real drive to take wholehearted action – which is odd, because I’ve historically been a very action-oriented, head strong type.
So this apathy can range from day to day activities, certain coffee shops I love (or have loved) to work in, bits and bobs for the Creative Introvert and how I choose to spend my free time – including many of the activities I’ve put in my Jar of Fun.
But what does this all meeeean??
Well, that’s the question I’ve been asking. i’ve been journalling about it, discussing it with my pals, sending intentions out to the universe to answer me: what is this slump all about?
If something isn’t fun anymore… What’s changed?
If the activity hasn’t changed… And my circumstances are still the same – and on the whole, very good – I guess it’s me that’s the culprit of this change.
Now I embrace change, or at least I attempt to.
Particularly personal change – heck, I wouldn’t have started this Creative Introvert business if I wasn’t a personal development junkie myself.
But I can’t deny this has made me feel a bit like an awkward chrysalis (by the way, have you seen the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly? That sh*t is crazy) somewhere between my former caterpillar self, wiggling around and munching on everything in it’s path, and the incredible butterfly that soars all around your garden.
It’s not entirely pleasant, but I’ll take it if it means the butterfly stage is coming.
I’m also using this caterpillar butterfly metaphor to explain – to myself as well as you – the change we all go through at various stages of life, over and over again, as we shed our former self that may be limiting us in some way, and become what we’re destined to be.
I’m using the word ‘destined’ lightly, because I’m not sold on the idea of fate or destiny currently, but I am a big believer in their being a True Self, or a more authentic, genuine self, that we’re possibly always subconsciously aware of… and are always getting steered towards from within… if we listen carefully.
Ok so esoteric stuff aside, what does this mean for the Year of Fun?
Well, I’ve decided to take an approach which I’ve been doing more and more over the recent year or so, but my former caterpillar self would absolutely balk at.
I’ve been looking at my to-do list and only picking out what I want to do in that moment.
If something feels uninspiring, I leave it for a time when I’m feeling more up to it.
Of course, I still keep my appointments and scheduled calls, but I haven’t been acting on something just because it’s in my Asana calendar.
Now there are times when this approach might not be a good idea, and of course I’m in a position where I’m under very little external pressure or responsibilities, but on the whole: I think each and every one of us could stand to pay attention to the way we feel about the day-to-day tasks we demand of ourselves.
We go into autopilot, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it can be limiting you becoming your butterfly self. When you stop and pay attention to how you really feel about things in your life that were once serving you but now may be aren’t… that’s when you can usher in real change.
Of course, this is especially applicable to this little Year of Fun project. Part of me – the INTJ – the thinker, the finisher, the doer, the analyser – wants to turn everything into a science experiment with rules and controls and a method and an aim and… I’m not sure that’s helping me find my FUN.
This whole week I’ve been fretting over what fun thing I could do to share with you… and quite honestly, that wasn’t fun.
Then, on Wednesday I just packed it in. I told myself: you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to apologise for missing a week on the podcast – in fact, I’ve always thought it silly when people apologise for being away from a blog or podcast for a while, after all, they’re giving it away for FREE.
And not long after I let myself off the hook for not doing something fun, I overheard a man on the bus talking about a local Italian restaurant that does phenomenal ice cream.
I instantly had severe ice cream cravings. I felt damn passionate about ice cream, and sunshine and the sea… and I think in that moment I got my mojo back.
I should also mention the UK has finally got a hint of spring, dare I say summer, in the past week, and after a pretty grim start to the year I think it’s safe to say we’re all feeling a little bit delirious from the seasonal shift. So may be it was that.
But I also think it was a sign that I’m moving in the right direction, by letting go of the type-A ‘must finish, must act, must do’ mode, and into a softer, more intuitive, go-with-the-flow mode.
So with that, I decided that the very next day I would go to Marrocco’s – the Italian restaurant the men on the bus spoke about – for ice cream, eat it on the beach and do, well, nothing.
Of course, I didn’t do nothing that whole day, I answered a few emails and picked out a few bits on my to-do list that appealed to me, but other than that, I chilled out. So if any of you type-A, more thinking-led introverts out there need some reassurance: just because you’re prioritising what feels exciting in the moment, doesn’t mean you won’t get the other stuff done. It just means you’ll feel more ready and enthused to take action when you stop trying so hard to make something happen.
And oh boy was the ice cream a good call.
I went for one scoop tiramisu and one scoop banana in a cone because the cone is easily half the fun. I just really love the bit at the end when you finish the cone with all the melted ice cream inside. So good.
And I did something very un-caterpillar like of me, and invited my friends, who are also in the fortunate position to work from home and not feel too guilty for taking time out on a Thursday afternoon to eat ice cream on the seaside.
My top tip for you today? Loosen your grip on the to-do list. See it as much as possible as a ‘could do’ list, and try feeling your way into action. What’s lighting you up right now?
My only regret was not going for the rum and raisin.
So in theory, I will catch you next week, but if I don’t, then you’ll probably know why. My idea of fun is constantly evolving and it’s showing me a lot about myself, and might even be the catalyst for all this metamorphosis…
Anyway, thanks for sticking with me and as always, feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or suggestions.
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