Fun House by ~Semi Sweet~
Inspired by several posts I’ve read on one of my favorite websites, Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project,” I decided to delve into why it is so hard for us to just be ourselves. So often we put aside things that make us happy, doing things to please other people, or making decisions to increase our finances, instead of working on what we love for a little less pay.
It’s tough to look inside ourselves and admit that our goals, joys and dreams don’t match anyone else’s. We feel vulnerable, exposed and directionless, trying to forge a new and different path. Our instinctive fear of the unknown poses doubts and uncertainties in worst-case scenarios that play through our brains over and over.
Other times we left ourselves get caught up in the fast pace of living, and don’t make time to slow down enough to find out what we’re interested in. Like college students who change their major every year, we drift along taking whatever job is offered, feeling dissatisfied, but not knowing exactly what we want.
It takes courage to admit to our family, friends and coworkers that our fantasy life is far different from what we are living. As Gretchen states in her Secret’s of Adulthood, “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you – – and vice versa.” Maybe you love dealing with numbers, but hate the chaos of teaching. Perhaps you like staying up late, but you work a day job.
To help you identify what you really enjoy start by making a list. Like the old children’s game Hot and Cold, make two columns. Put the stuff that makes you smile just to think about in one column, and the stuff that seems boring, dull or a pain to do in the other column. Now just let yourself write. Put down as many ideas as you can think of, shooting for at least 15 minutes, but taking as much as an hour.
Don’t worry about changing your life. That can come later. For now, just use a couple of ideas and add some fun to your day. Like Gretchen, I too have a wonderful addiction to children’s books. Like her, I used to hide the enjoyment I got from these books, as people looked at me somewhat strangely when they saw what I was reading. But luckily I found another soul who enjoyed the innocence and playful that adult books lack and together we traded titles and authors, sharing the Harry Potter years together.
Your second step to more joy and happiness is to let go of expectations -yours and other peoples. Let yourself try that new Nintendo Wii system. Buy yourself a copy of the original Scooby Doo cartoons on DVD and get out the popcorn. Volunteer at the animal shelter and play with the dogs. Join a reading group and share your love of books with others. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, and you’ll find you have more energy and pleasure to give to others in return.