Are We Having Fun Yet?

When was the last time you had fun, I mean, real FUN?I recently saw a video called "The Fun Theory”, which I'm sure many of you have seen by now. It was an experiment:

If we turn the stairs in a subway into a piano, would people walk up them instead of using the escalator because it’s more fun?

Heck yeah! 66% more people took the stairs than the escalator. And watching the video, it sure looks like they had fun doing it. The premise was: Fun Can Change Behavior for the Better.

It made me wonder, where had all the fun gone?

With the global stress of the economy, melting polar ice caps, suicide bombers in Afghanistan; the national stress of rising healthcare costs, lowered housing values and skyrocketing unemployment, in addition to each of our own personal challenges, it’s no surprise we’re not having fun.

I reflected deeper, when was the last time I had fun?

Last December my husband and I took our niece and a friend ice-skating. That was fun. I distinctly remember one moment when my niece was pulling herself along the wall like a soggy little wool-encased inch worm, trying not to fall, and a song came on that inspired me to grab her and my husband’s hands. Gliding along in unison, the chill wind blowing on our faces, the music blaring out of the speakers transported me back to other Christmas ice skating venues – Rockefeller Center, Central Park and even Saturday mornings with my father and sisters at Burnett Park in Upstate New York. For a few fleeting moments I tuned out the world and was one with the ice and the two people dearest to me on either side. Pure joy.

But that was almost a year ago. Surely I should be having more fun!

And then a funny thing happened.

Yesterday morning, my husband and I started talking to each other in silly British accents as we got ready for the day. We laughed and laughed. It felt like ages since we weren’t talking about what bills needed to get paid, who needed to pick up what at the store, and who was going to walk the dog when.

The more I noticed the lack of fun in my life, the more fun I started to have.

As my reflection on fun continued throughout the day, I came across a little video by Nic Askew (I'll show you at the end) which really struck a chord. It reminded me how I get so caught up in trying to Be Someone. Taking more workshops, reading more books, joining more online social networking groups, all in an effort to Get Somewhere. But where am I going? And why would I want to go there if I'm not having fun?

Even as I write this, the voices of my Irish ancestors echo in my head: “Life is hard, no one said it was going to be fun!”

Internally I retort, “Why not? Why does it have to be hard?” I earn my living supporting people to find their passion, tap their true potential, make their dreams a reality and, hopefully to do so with joy. Why can’t I have a little fun while I’m at it?

So my mission today is to lighten up. Have some fun, look for the small places of joy that I know are just waiting to be tapped. Whether it’s talking in a silly British accent, or painting with my niece, I'm going to allow fun to change my behavior for the better.

(Oh and here's the video... I promised). Enjoy!