Hey, so, you know those funny movies about workaholics who realize there’s more to life than working? I’m kind of living that script right now, complete with three consecutive counselors (over the years, of course) giving me “homework assignments” to go have fun.
No, I’m not kidding. I have to be told to enjoy myself.
Forced Fun: The Sarah Story
I’m not sure where this comes from. I don’t think I was quick to do chores or get things done when I was younger. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had a problem finishing things up. And the work ethic I inherited from my parents has only ever been a pro– it was the core reason I’ve been able to run my business and be successful in the career-side of my life.
But I guess something happened right when I started teaching — I became consumed with “making it work.” Whether the kids wanted it to work or not…
Somewhere in there I must have shifted from “Person who does Good Work” to “I can’t stop… if I only work a little harder, it will work out, and if it doesn’t, it’s because I didn’t work hard enough!”
Maybe you can see where this is going? That attitude lead me to a functional breakdown where I got coverage for my classroom and ran away from the room crying. Within a month I was out of the classroom thinking it was behind me. But the urge to protect myself (from what, I don’t know!) by working more and working all the time has not gone away.
Moving on, Stress Level Staying
Despite way-decreased stress levels in my next job, I never really got back into any hobbies. Before teaching, basketball was always my thing, along with reading and sometimes drawing. I replaced those things with blogging and doing chores around the house, and I could never seem to make time for doing “nothing.”
What a waste, right?
Fortunately, I have the Master of Fun, JHubbs, at my side to help me through this. Over the year, my talent for chores has rubbed off on him. Now it’s time for his ability to get completely side-tracked with something amusing to rub off on me.
But maybe that’s too much background information. Let’s start with my homework assignment today: to get my daily stress levels down and start to be a real human. Each week I’m supposed to do two fun things (ideally one each day, but let’s start small, okay?). Things that are simply done for pleasure or to pass the time in a non-productive way.
Honestly? This makes me want to pull my hair out. My immediate reaction is that there are things to DO and I can’t be bothered to stop doing things for something as silly as “fun”!
That’s where you guys come in. Surely it still counts as fun if I turn it into a blogging homework assignment, right? So let’s document this together and see what fun looks like to me now.
Week 1, July 13-17
Fun Thing 1 – Reading Fiction
I hope this counts, because otherwise it means I failed at my first week of having fun! I’m head-first into the Wheel of Time series, a science/medieval fiction book that’s just all nonsense. I really look forward to my time reading at night and sometimes during the day. But you want to know something really scary? I find myself skipping parts of the book or reading ahead to find out what happens more efficiently! Honest to goodness, I’ve caught myself doing it and had to slowly go backwards a few paragraphs and force myself to read every word slowly and imagine it in my mind. How weird is that?!
Fun Thing 2 – Playing With the Cat
I stopped work a few times to play with the cat for a few minutes. This was one of the fun things I didn’t get distracted from (I was having fun the whole time) but I do tend to stop myself too quickly. One of the nights I did this, I was playing with the cat and JHubbs and I stood up and went to change the laundry (right in the hall where we were) without thinking about it. JHubbs looked up and said, “What are you doing? Did you just leave to do tasks??” and I was busted. Still a lot of work to do here, people!
Fun Thing 3 – Minions Movie
On Wednesday (a week night!) we used JHubb’s birthday gift card to see Minions. The movie had some very cute parts… but when I started to get bored with the story arc (English major problems…) I started thinking about chores and work. I don’t know how to not think about it. It’s like all of my thought processes are made to be as efficient and productive as possible; the only interesting things to me are things based in reality and getting something done. Weird.
That’s all for now! I’m literally going to go to the calendar and write “FUN” on my to-do list for two days each week. If you think of any fun things, please leave them in the comments! I’m looking for low cost or free things that don’t involve food (the self-care list I got from my counselor had silly things like “Go buy some cake and eat it,” and something tells me that’s not the healthiest way to have fun ;-)).
Do you have enough fun? What do you like to do?