…but is it fun?

October 29, 2008 at 5:38 am 9 comments

I was talking to a coworker today about a book she was reading.  A long book that had gotten boring in the middle, so she was skipping pages and sections to get to the ending so she could quit reading.  Ah yes, I’ve been there many times.  So why do I feel compelled to complete a book when it becomes work instead of a diversion?

Most of my reading is for pleasure.  It fascinates me how authors are able to create entire worlds, sustain and expand these worlds.  If it’s done well the places and characters come alive and beckon me to explore.  It can be historical fiction or modern day outrageous characters, mythical fantasy or my favorite, a well-thought-out cyberpunk/neopunk realm.  I can immerse myself for hours at a time.

But there are times when a popular, critically acclaimed writer just doesn’t click.  The concept of the book may interest me, and people I share similar tastes with rave about it, but I struggle the whole way through.  Douglas Adams’ writings are like that for me.  There, I said it.  I really tried to like the Hitchhiker books, can praise the virtues of the number 42 and the importance of towels with the best of them, but was always a closet yawner when I made myself read the books.

So why do we push ourselves to get through recreational activities that we don’t enjoy?  Oh sure, I know there are some uncomfortable learning curves, and there are things that aren’t enjoyable that provide some kind of value to ourselves, others, or the planet – I’m not referring to those.  I’m talking about the things that we get in a habit of doing supposedly to relax, that end up being more taxing or boring than really relaxing.

“Have fun.”  A simple concept, that’s not always simple to carry out.  I’ve been exploring lately what it takes for me to have fun.  If I’m having fun, there will be a reward of feeling more alive and present during the activity.  Also there’s typically an anticipation before, and a good, cleansed feeling afterward.  Three fun activities for me are motorcycling, singing and drumming.  Certainly not slogging thru tedious books that I “need” to finish because I started, or playing certain mindless online flash games til the wee hours just to prove I can beat the next level, or even sitting in movie theaters watching things blow up.  That could be fun for some, and can pass the time.  But it’s not fun for me.

So often in our culture, we let our recreation be prescribed to us by folks who want to sell us something, or by those who want to simply share their enthusiasm for their passions.  The motivation of those who offer up their pastimes to us may be pure or tainted, and the motivations shouldn’t make a difference in our response to the offerings.  It’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves, and give ourselves what we need to feed our passions and our souls.

And what does this get us?  More than frivolity, though that’s important too.  It’s when we follow our heart and our passions that big things start to manifest.  Take, for example, the Day of the Dead festival that was created by Tracy Martin at Bare Hands Gallery in Birmingham.  She simply expressed what she was feeling in her heart, and it has grown into a huge event, one of the most unique that I’ve experienced, and rewarding for the entire community.

I’m working on applying this to my own life.  Progress has definitely been made.  I’m singing in a choir, taking an African drumming class and I recently completed a motorcycle camping trip to a music fest in North Carolina.  I’m still working on releasing the clutter-work I create in my leisure time.  Like all of life, I’m learning the lesson, even when having fun.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Expensive Ride to Straight Mountain Multi-Project vs. Multi-Task

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Darlene Hudgins  |  October 29, 2008 at 8:29 am

    I couldn’t agree more about ” It’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves, and give ourselves what we need to feed our passions and our souls”. And besides, no one else really wants the job!

  • 2. Aunt Nancy  |  October 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Am I reading Amanda’s comments or Lori’s comments (Aunt Nancy was for Amanda). I was logging on, I thought, to Lori. Technoidiots R me. n.

  • 3. Nancy  |  October 29, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Ok–should have read further. Amanda does not take Africna drumming classes or go off on motorcycles to music festivals. She’s rearing twin boys in New York.
    Lori: You’re lucky you’re not a teacher–wouldn’t believe the stuff I have to read.

  • 4. Ann  |  October 29, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    You are absolutely right about not letting others determine what is fun for you. Fun is highly personal and is only fun if you enjoy yourself.

  • 5. Denise  |  October 30, 2008 at 12:54 am

    How do you feel about Armistad Maupin’s novels? (I love them). I can’t remember whether I forced myself through The World According to Garp (leaning towards that one) or A Confederacy of Dunces. People kept telling me it just gets better. I finally closed the last page of both of them and didn’t think so. Now if I hate a book, I move on. Or wait and go back in several months (sometimes it’s just a mood – not with John Irving though, I just don’t like his writing).

  • 6. letsxplor  |  October 30, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Denise: I think I’ve slogged thru Confederacy twice! Tried to give it another shot, the funniest thing is the cover. You’re right about the mood – when I first read Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, I lasted about two chapters. Tried again in a year or so and couldn’t put it down. There are times that we just don’t resonate with the story, and later will. Which is another lesson – what is fun can change!

    Nancy: Hi, yes, this one is Lori’s, thank you for adding a little more to your reading list!

  • 7. Katie D.  |  October 30, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Lori Lu,

    I so hear you. I’m trying to find my passion, and it looks like it overwhelmingly is landing on knitting and yarn-type things. I love to create. Thanks for sharing your musings again! I’ll write more later…Lub kd

  • 8. Shanti McKinnie  |  November 1, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Well…Hello…Lori!!! I lift you up to Goddess for your well-chosen words and your cut-to-the-chase comments about “fun”. With the autumn weather enticing me more and more to be outside, I have been following Mother Earth’s call–primarily through bicycling and gentle hiking (all locally).
    Yes, KNOW what feels good and – with harm to no one – DO it. MAKE fun a top priority. Fun is therapeutic with its release of all of those feel-good hormones. Hmmm, maybe having fun makes me “hormy”?
    So, thanks for the call to my Fun Side! Shanti

  • 9. letsxplor  |  November 2, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Shanti: Yes, definitely the time of year to enjoy nature. I can’t speak to your “hormi-ness”, whatever works for you… lol!

    Katie: Glad you’re expressing your creativity! Hope to see you soon.


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