Now that summer is nearly upon us, it’s time to prepare for vacations and fun in the sun! So what better way than to crack down and get serious about play? That’s what this month is all about – recognizing what you find fun, finding new venues of merriment, and making time for it! Gretchen tended to stick to the familiar, but she wanted to branch out for new experiences and to advance her creativity.
May’s focus: Be Serious About Play
“Find More Fun” – It’s time to recognize what you find enjoyable! What’s fun for you may not be fun for someone else. We need to realize that although we are capable of doing anything, in reality, we are limited to our likes and dislikes. You can’t force yourself to enjoy going to the club if you prefer a night in snuggled with a book. Or you won’t enjoy the opera if you’d rather hear the roar of a race car speedway. Of course, this doesn’t mean to limit yourself and not do spontaneous or adventurous things. Gretchen just wants you to find your baseline of fun; recognize what you gravitate towards when searching to have a good time, and do more of it! Maybe revisit some of the activities that gave you such joy as a child, such as building complex Lego, or keeping a sticker book, or riding your bike around town.
For herself, Gretchen used to keep a scrapbook of sorts as a kid, collecting random quotes and pictures she liked from magazines. So she decided to do the same again, reliving an old activity that brought back some fun! She also got some friends together and they started a children’s literature group, taking turns hosting dinners and discussing a particular book for the evening. Alongside the books, the host was expected to serve a special food item that is featured in the book. For example, when discussing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the special food served was Turkish delight. I’d be all over that if I had the opportunity!
Excerpt from Gretchen: “I needed to acknowledge to myself what I enjoyed, not what I wished I enjoyed.”
So, what do I find fun? Well, let’s see…
-Video gaming! I have the most fun on my own, but also appreciate playing games with friends. I’ve enjoyed video games since the 8 bit graphics of Super Nintendo when it first came out, all the way to the realism of PS3. Heck, I even made a post about my top faves! Seriously, check it out; maybe we shared some favourites!
-Reading and writing have always been something I used to do since I was small. I had a bunk bed, so I kept a Goosebumps book and lamp tucked in the bed frame above me to read a chapter or two before going to sleep. I’ve since neglected this habit, but perhaps I need to make a revival of it!
-Watching movies is fun for me and Teddy. 🙂 Ever since my first job at a Jumbo Video, I’ve been very attentive to actors and what they star in.
-Playing board games with family is always some old fashioned fun! It’s rare when it happens nowadays though.
-Going on adventures with friends can always be fun! Whether that means a night out on the town, going camping for the weekend, dancing at the club, or going on a road trip!
-Learning languages! I took French all through high school, and I took a couple years in Spanish and Latin as well. Once in university, I spent half a year learning Japanese – much more different than European languages, but engaging!
My goal this month is to make more time for activities that I find fun!
“Take Time to Be Silly” – “A happy atmosphere isn’t created merely by the absence of nagging and yelling but also by jokes, games, and tomfoolery.”
We’ve been working at trying to bite our tongues and stop the negative from happening. Now it’s time to inject more silliness in our lives!
According to Teddy, “Taking time to be silly is me being my normal self.” I guess I’m already a goof – and that doesn’t bother me!
It’s time, young Padawan, to go find your inner goof!
Excerpt from Gretchen: “Studies show that in a phenomenon called ’emotional contagion,’ we unconsciously catch emotions from other people – whether good moods or bad ones.”
Pay attention to how you affect others, and how they affect you!
“Go Off the Path” – Gretchen read books that were outside her usual realm and grabbed three random magazines every Monday of May in order to gain new ideas or learn something totally new. She would go to a spot, close her eyes, and pick something random off the shelf.
My idea of going off the path might entail volunteering somewhere, or physically going on an adventure. If you’re a homebody, go explore your city! Expand your horizons in some way. I haven’t figured out how I’ll do that quite yet, but I will!
Excerpt from Gretchen: “Instead of always worrying about being efficient, I wanted to spend time on exploration, experimentation, digression, and failed attempts that didn’t always look productive.”
“Start a Collection” – If you don’t have a collection of your own on the go, now’s a perfect time to do so! Gretchen started collecting bluebirds, as they are a symbol of happiness. It became a thrill when she was out casually shopping and she stumbled upon a bluebird that she could add to her collection. I can relate!
For myself, I have two main collections of my own. My first collection grows slowly, as it only advances when I travel and buy key chains from iconic places. Usually I get them from places I travel to like Dominican Republic or Vancouver. Other key chains are from places like the CN Tower, or when I went to Coldplay’s concert. Mainly, I collect them when I remember to do so!
My second collection has been growing steadily since this past Christmas of 2014: vinyl Pop! figurines. What can I say, they’re cute! You don’t have to tell me twice that I should go on a hunt for some more Pop!s.
However, collections aren’t for everyone. Gretchen soon found that it wasn’t something she strived for, and so stopped. There’s no harm in that!
So, you guys ready to go make some fun happen?! Let’s do thissssss!!!
Peace and fun! Xoxo
Rubin, Gretchen. The Happiness Project. 2011 ed. Toronto, Canada: HarperCollins, 2009. 301. Print.
Buy the book! ^.^