If we don’t know how to have fun, we don’t know how to live, Nicole Law discovered.
It’s the weekend and I’m working again, my workstation set up near the window to catch a sliver of natural light. I browse my work playlist on Spotify for some music to lift my mood but before I can connect hysterical laughter reaches my ears.
A blur of figures on the ground level catches my attention. I look wistfully on young children chasing one another around the playground a short distance away from my flat and marvel at their sense of liberation. They are completely oblivious to the midday heat, a few of them repeatedly tripping over themselves in their haste to escape the others … and the beautiful thing is – they are simply enjoying themselves.
I struggle to recall the last time I did something just for fun, with no obvious objective or agenda in mind.
It seems eons ago, a phase of life I have left behind. As an adult, life has taken on a calibrated approach, where how I spend my time outside of work and other responsibilities is often equated with having an obvious purpose.
Now, I account for every hour, minute and second of my life. I schedule meetings and work events and have even resorted to pencilling in items known as LUNCH and SLEEP. In a society where we are measured by targets, it is not difficult to understand our obsession with planning and placing work on a pedestal.
Worldwide, working hours are creeping up and the elusive work-life balance resembles an urban myth rather than an essential ingredient of a purposeful life.
The mere mention of fun draws curious looks. A friend remarked that fun was not on the cards when one was trying to get sufficient sleep and nutrition to function on a daily basis. I get it, time is scarce and anything fun seems like a waste of time. Yet, are we truly existing simply to work?
While work takes up a large proportion of our time and does allow us a sense of purpose and achievement, I am cautious. There is a temptation to idolise work and busyness so much that any attempt at slowing down is perceived as a sign of weakness or, worse, a fatal flaw! It is all too easy to believe in the narrative that work equals meaning and that fun is an optional frivolity.
It dawned on me: I was allowing work to define my life; the boundaries between work and life were becoming blurred. I was slowly forgetting how to have fun! Books I had intended to read lay untouched on my table and my dance shoes were collecting dust in a corner. The daily grind was deadening my zest for life and I soon realised I had to do something.
For the first time since I entered the workforce, I decided to take a day off. I had a full day ahead of me and it felt like a luxury. I painted, went for a long walk around my neighbourhood and baked chocolate cookies – things I had not found the time to do in ages.
It was a new feeling – of putting myself first for a change and simply doing things I enjoy. I turned off my phone just for the day and put fun back on the agenda.
The short 24 hours unplugged from the weight of responsibilities of adulthood created a space for me to have a good time – with no distinct objective. I was a kid all over again, running around her personal playground and realising that all of us deserve to have just a little bit of fun!
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