This is the 400th post on space2live (blog) and brendaknowles.com (website)!! That’s a lot of writing on my favorite topics: introversion, sensitivity, relationships, parenting, divorce, anxiety, resilience and connecting. I am so happy to have this outlet. I’ve met so many wonderful people through writing. Thanks for reading and sharing with me! Please enjoy the latest post below!
Fun was synonymous with extroversion for me. I used to think having a blast meant pouring out lots and lots of energy. Fun seemed loud and action packed. Daunting. I even ruled out potential men on dating sites if they mentioned looking for someone who was fun. I did not feel I could live up to that expectation.
Things are changing. My social calendar has been jam-packed over the last month. Two or three events every weekend. In case you are curious, most of the events are a solid mix of introverts and extroverts.
This most recent weekend we actually had nothing planned. It gave me time to reflect. I noticed that despite all the recent social gatherings and plans, I was not drained. I now look forward to get-togethers and events.
Why is that? Have I suddenly gone extroverted? Why do I feel different now about socializing? What’s changed from a few years ago when I really had to pace myself and put buffers in place to protect my downtime?
Fun = rest
The answer is, I am having fun now. I’m getting together with people who make me laugh and listen to my stories. I get to be with people whom I enjoy listening to. I even make them laugh sometimes! My personal hero, Brenda Ueland, says the more we laugh with people the funnier they get. I think they relax once they’ve succeeded with one good line or joke and then the humor really flows.
We all relax by sharing our experiences, laughing, singing, dancing, and supporting each other. I’m getting downtime and relaxation by being with others.
The good times carry over into everyday lives
I focus on my kids’ activities and household maintenance when they are with me, but even the joy factor in those endeavors has elevated. I think the energy generated from the fun social gatherings spills over into time with my kids.
Perhaps the more fun we have, the more fun we find or notice.
I would like to thank Will Smith and Nickelodeon for The Fresh Prince of Belair reruns at night. The show’s story lines and characters are just the right mix of goofy and meaningful. The kids and I have fun watching an episode or two before bed. We laugh but also wind down from the day.
Belonging to communities lightens the load
I rest and gain vitality between work. There is no doubt the love and support I receive from my fiancé gives me a boost but the socializing and belonging to different communities is pure fuel to my spirit. Fortunately, he brings new communities (family, friends) to our relationship and me. I love introducing him to my communities as well. The support and engagement of outside communities remove the burden of being everything to each other.
When I was married it was all about the striving and achieving. I think most families go through this stage of child-rearing and career building. There is not much time or energy left for other activities. We did not socialize much outside of my husband’s co-workers. I could not rest in the relationship with my husband or our social circles. The relationships were not steeped in fun. They were more focused on appearances.
It is key for couples to rest with each other whether that be in quiet time or fun time.
Still loyal to quiet
I still usually have quiet Sundays, whether I’m by myself or with my kids. I plan time to read, which is another type of fun for me and many introverts.
Fun enhances creativity and productivity
It is easy to feel guilty about goofing off. We often feel we are putting off work to play when we take time to have fun. In her Tedx talk, Fun Is Your High-Performance Fuel, Karen Salmansohn shares statistics about how much more productive we are when we work with friends —people we have fun with.
She also mentions that we can’t listen or express ourselves well if our heart rate goes beyond 100 beats per minute. Fun reduces fear and stress therefore reducing the challenges to our hearts and minds. It refreshes us so we can reflect and create with ease.
Good times and camaraderie not only energize us and increase our resilience but they make us more productive and creative too. I have always thought it would be a blast to work as part of a writing team for a TV show. I would love the tossing around of ideas and riffing off each other. That sounds like fun to me. It seems like the perfect blend of introvert inner world and creative social world.
The most important thing fun does for us
When we have fun and laugh we get present with ourselves, our setting and our people. We aren’t rehashing our past mistakes or experiencing anxiety about our future. We lose track of time, lower our heart rates (unless fun entails raising our heart rate), become open to more people and ideas and handle obstacles better. We become more resilient.
When was the last time you had genuine fun? How often do you experience fun in a week? What is fun to you?