Friday, April 13, 2012

The Fun Theory

Play is a worthy pursuit for its own sake and can serve as creative stimulus for our most significant work.  Robert K Cooper

Little Tania, without a very good sense of her own limitations!
Yes, I did tumble off this one as least once.
How many mornings this week did you wake up filled with vibrancy and health, at your absolute best? How much fun have you had since Monday? What about since the start of the year?

If you are like the majority of people, you are not feeling impressed about the answers to these questions.

Did you know that only 28% of professional women would rate themselves as fun? And a disturbing 18% rate themselves as healthy/fit/well rested. In a recent Wimlink study with over 250 professional women, respondents were also more than five times as likely to rate themselves as unhealthy, unfun, than they were to rate themselves as not hard-working.

Stop a moment and ask yourself: what’s the point?

I had my pivotal moment of unfun-ness when one night, I decided I had to go out. I was living in Northern Virginia at the time, relocated from NY, away from friends, and all I did was work, travel, exercise, work.

Things started looking grim when firstly, I looked into my wardrobe and realized I did not own a single thing that could not be worn to the office or the gym! When did this happen? Staring at a sea of nice crisp grey, I remembered that I don’t even like grey.

Determined to remain positive and break my cycle, I did the best I could do with my wardrobe building blocks and headed to a local bar and sat down. Moments later, a man approached, sat down next to me and, trying to make casual conversation, guessed exultantly that I was a dentist. Needless to say we did not end up dating.

Point being – one minute you’re an imaginative, bossy, reflective, gregarious child who forces adults at your parent’s dinner parties to stop what they’re doing and watch your interpretive dance choreography. One minute, you’re writing poetry all the time and laughing so hard your stomach hurts and you can’t see. Next minute, you’re wearing a grey suit that you hate to a chain-restaurant bar in Reston, Virginia and the best pick up line you can get is ‘you’re a dentist, right?’

Life happens so fast. Our choices, even the little ones, pull us inevitably towards our future. So in each choice, in each moment, we need to bring fun back. We must play more – our success, creativity, health and livelihood depend on it.

Within weeks, I had moved back to New York, gone shopping, dancing and whatever else, and never looked back.

So I challenge you now, to stop for a moment and see how you’re doing. Are there any automatic behaviors that, like a needle in a broken record, keep you stuck repeating the same pattern, over and over again? Go back, deeply into yourself. Back into your center, to that place of power that you stumble upon occasionally when you’re in the zone and a small voice inside of you whispers ‘this is exactly me, this is exactly who I am’. You marvel at this as though you were somehow tapping into something powerful, outside of yourself.

That is your self, and it’s time to get to know you again so that you can finally sink your teeth into life, rediscover your groove, honor your childish aspirations and have some fun being truly wonderful at this whirling, colorful, life game.

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