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Have Fun ‘Til You’re Done!

By Viktoria Vidali May 10, 2024 Mindset

One morning while enjoying an aromatic brew under the shade trees of our local coffee shop, my 80-year-old friend, an Asian history cognoscente and a master at nailing the one-liner, summed up his philosophy of life for me in five words:

Have fun ‘til you’re done!

I had to laugh (because we were having fun!), but at the same time it made me think about how radical this view is in a culture that venerates getting ahead, being productive (nose to the grindstone!), and constantly becoming the next best version of yourself, all of which can keep a person overcommitted and pushed to the point of exhaustion. No fun!

Not Alone in This

My friend has good company in his thinking:

This is the real secret of life –

to be completely engaged with what you are doing

in the here and now. And instead of calling it work,

realize it is play.

—Alan Watts

At first, this may seem like a hedonistic approach, but the meaning is entirely different. It’s not so much what you’re doing – it’s the vibe (to use a descriptive hippie term) you’re on while you’re doing it.

When you’re alone, focusing on something you love doing – working on a project, playing the piano, creating art, writing, etc., – you temporarily suspend burdens from the past and worries about the future. And then, when you eventually finish what you’ve been up to, you may be surprised at how time has flown and how good you feel, having had a reprieve from the self-imposed seriousness of your normal day to day.

Joy in Everything

Now, take that contented joy you just experienced and envision infusing it into everything you do. Why not make each task a pleasant endeavor? If you catch yourself with a furrowed brow, gently release the tension and change the image. Deliberately adopt a playful, even humorous attitude – lighten the mood! We all like to be around people who make us laugh. In the burst of laughter, we forget everything else that may be weighing heavily upon us.

We can do this for ourselves, too, and young children can show us how. They have a knack for turning ordinary tasks into games. Watch them transform chores or cooking, gardening, or running errands from routine obligations into playful shared adventures. They’re “all in” – whatever may be happening.

Find Levity in the Present

The key is to find levity in the present, as we often have found it in the past. We’ve probably all chuckled to ourselves looking back at some exasperating personal predicament.

When I was living in Southern California in my 20s, I remember the night the car trolls decided to play a wicked trick on me. It was pouring rain and very dark along Highway 1. There I was, elegantly dressed for a dinner date, pulled over by the side of the road with a flat tire, keys mockingly locked inside, getting drenched. No cell phone in those days.

Each rumble of thunder grumbled like a jötunn’s stomach after a big meal (I was so hungry!). My fearful what-ifs convinced me that no one would stop; that I’d have to hoof it, high heels and all, to the next gas station, miles away.

Fast forward to today, reminiscing with friends over lunch. We found ourselves laughing out loud as we re-envisioned the entire scenario resembling a scene out of a B-movie. The tow truck driver, who had arrived on cue like a wish granted by my fairy godmother, had even steered my tale to a happy ending.

Change of Perspective

So why do we find that same event amusing now, when before we were so caught up in its emotional whirlwind?

Two reasons: (1) While it was taking place, we were seriously identified in it. (2) With the passage of time, we change our perspective and see it in context.

Back then, I felt like I was treading water in a fast-moving current. Now, with the luxury of reflection, I can see the situation for what it really was: just a flat tire, a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme. The humor isn’t in the happening itself, but in how I let my emotions run wild and how doggone serious I was about the whole thing!

So, back to having fun; it’s about moving through life with a playful attitude, something we actually do have agency over, and taking ourselves less seriously. Which reminds me of a G.K. Chesterton quote:

Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How do you have fun these days? Do you laugh at past mishaps? Is there a friend in your crowd who likes to share fun times with you?

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Toni Stritzke

Yes, ads are a nuisance but in the spirit of the article, I don’t let myself be distracted from the message I wish to imbibe.
My friend and colleague used to reply to my work-related angst with a simple movement over her shoulders with her hands (whilst gazing meaningfully into my stressed visage!) She accompanied her actions with two words, “whoosh,whoosh.”
It often worked.

Viktoria Vidali

The sound of WHOOSH is comforting by itself. No wonder it worked repeated, Toni!

Jo apple

I will endeavour to see a lighter view in each day..thank you guys🥰

Pat

Awesome! One of my key values:
Playfulness. “Make what ever you are doing into a game”. Make life fun.

Viktoria Vidali

Exactly, Pat!

Nicole

I have fun by watching and playing with my two small dogs.

Viktoria Vidali

Pets bring us so much joy, Nicole, and recall us to the Now. I can relate!

Peggy

The nonstop intrusive ads on this site are destroying any fun I get from reading these articles! Note to Margaret: please find another way to make money from this site. Until you do I will stop reading your previously enjoyable site

Lois

Hi Peggy, every site today needs ads to exist unless they collect a membership fee. All the writing you see here, the time spent posting is not paid by membership dues. Sites like Sixty and me rely on commissions from these ads. So it’s either that or institute a membership fee which I think would cause more issues. Margaret has been providing the service for years much of it free. I don’t mind the ads because I know how they help.

Jane

Get Adblock

Susan Gaston

Thanks for the advice I just got the adblock extension for chrome on my laptop!

Fran

I did have Adblock — until it interfered with too many web sites. And then deleting Adblock was difficult. No thanks.

Suzan Webb

Yes, the ads are a terrible distraction from all the painstaking work you obviously put into your content, for which I am always grateful.

The Author

Viktoria Vidali is a published writer, educator, photographer, and poet. Her love of children, music, travel, metaphysics, and the natural world inspire her work, as do vivid memories of her exhilarating 40,000 nautical-mile sailing voyage into the Eastern Pacific. Please contact Viktoria at: viktoriavidali@gmail.com or at Poetry For Living (https://imagesforrenewal.tumblr.com).

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