Sunday, June 07, 2009

Defining Fun

I recently was given a new visiting teaching route (for the non LDS who read this, that means a list of several women in our church who I will visit on a monthly basis and watch over in case they have any special needs.)

Some of the ladies on my list I've never met. Others I barely know. So, in an effort to get better acquainted I asked them each to answer the following questions:

1. How were you introduced to the church?
2. Who / Where is your family? Who are you closest too?
3. What's the best job and worst job you have ever had? If you could do ANY job you wanted what would it be?
4. What do you do for fun?
5. Do you have any hobbies and/or collections?
6. What challenges are you currently facing?

I very much enjoyed reading the answers that my ladies shared with me.
One in particular, however, gave me much food for thought.

After listing several activities she does in her leisure time she said: "Not all of these things are actually fun....define fun for me......"

Ya know, she has a point there.

What exactly do we mean when we say "FUN"?

According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary it says this about fun:

Main Entry: fun
Pronunciation: \ˈfən\
Function: noun
Etymology: English dialect fun to hoax, perhaps alteration of Middle English fonnen, from fonne dupe
Date: 1727
1: what provides amusement or enjoyment ; specifically : playful often boisterous action or speech
2: a mood for finding or making amusement
3 a: amusement, enjoyment b: derisive jest : sport, ridicule - a figure of fun -
4: violent or excited activity or argument
synonyms fun, jest, sport, game, play mean action or speech that provides amusement or arouses laughter. fun usually implies laughter or gaiety but may imply merely a lack of serious or ulterior purpose . jest implies lack of earnestness in what is said or done and may suggest a hoaxing or teasing . sport applies especially to the arousing of laughter against someone . game is close to sport, and often stresses mischievous or malicious fun . play stresses the opposition to earnest without implying any malice or mischief .

So that got me to thinking about what makes something "fun" for me...

Yesterday my husband and I teamed up to do some work in the yard. He ran the edge trimmer around the fence while I dead headed flowers and together we both pulled lots of weeds. It was work. No - wait a minute. It was fun. Yeah, it was work. But it WAS fun. We both enjoyed it a lot.

I've gone to some parties, museums, amusement parks that were supposed to entertaining only to find I had NO fun whatsoever for one reason or another.

So, in my mind FUN has less to do with the structure or type of activity and more to do with my mindset at the time.

And what determines my mindset? I DO. What happens around me certainly may support or challenge my mindset. But I honestly believe that how I feel at any given time has way more to do with what I'm internally choosing to focus on than it does with any external reality beyond my control.

So I suppose that means I can make my day to day comings and goings about as much fun as I choose to, right? In some cases I would have to work a lot harder at it than in other situations. Still, if fun is determined by how I feel rather than whatever it is I am doing - by extension that means I can choose to have fun a whole lot more often and in more different contexts than I currently do.

Do I buy that? If that is true why don't I have fun more often?

HMMMM. I'll have to think about this some more.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Today has been a good day. No particular reason. It's not like I did anything particularly special. I got all the laundry done and weeded the flowerbed. I went grocery shopping. I made a special pie. We had leftovers for dinner so I didn't have to cook. Basically it was just a day like any other day. Still, throughout the day I've just had a sense of contentment and peace. I've taken pleasure in noticing little things... my garden is growing like crazy. Strawberries are almost ripe. Lettuce needs thinning AGAIN. Nothing special. Just...a calm, lovely day.

Sometimes it's the simple and mundane that can bring the most pleasure. I've been blessed with opportunities to travel to exotic places. I've done some cool and exciting things. I've met fascinating people. I've accomplished some things I'm down right proud of. But when it comes down to it, it's days like today that define my life the most clearly, far more than vacations or awards. Just livin' the dream, am my pal Matthew would say. I'll take it.

Monday, June 01, 2009


So here is my dilemma...

Part of my brain says not to worry at all about the fact that I did not get the teaching job. Things happen for a reason. There is surely some OTHER opportunity that will present itself eventually. That dimension of my thinking insists we WILL move to Idaho, just on a slightly altered time table. When I am relating from that version of my brain I value determination and tenacity. I say to myself to stick to my guns to build the life I know I want. That way of thinking is goal driven and ambitious. That side of my thinking says don't ever quit.

However, another part of my brain says GIVE IT UP. The fact that you did not get this job you were so absolutely qualified and well matched for is a clear message that you should stop always thinking grass is greener on the other side of the hill. Face that THIS is your place. Stop searching for a way to transplant. Let it go and BE HERE NOW. I live here. So I should LIVE here, not just take up space here while anxiously looking to be someplace else. That side of my brain values surrender, acceptance, walking in faith and peace.

I keep lobbing back and forth between these completely different views of what is best, what is healthy, what is valuable. Both sides of my thinking feel lucid, rational, seeking my best interest. But they are on ass end opposite sides of the spectrum. I am never quite sure which part of my perception to give more credence to.

It's complicated.

No more teaching for me

Well, I got the word.

They hired the other person. I did NOT get the teaching job I had applied for. They said I interviewed very well and obviously had great background, but they made the choice to go with their adjunct instructor who they already knew. From the sound of it, it was a forgone conclusion. They knew who they wanted before the process ever started. GEE, we've never seen THAT happen before have we??

Of course I am disappointed. It felt like such a right match. But I'm not giving up. I'm STILL determined to find a job that will take us to Idaho. I just don't know yet what that will be.

Next on the hit list -

I'm still in the running to be Ass. Director of the Women's Center at Boise State and as Executive Director for a non profit that serves the elderly.
If not either one of those, I'll find something else. Every trip we have made there has confirmed for me that it is the right place for us to be. It WILL happen. Just not the way I thought.

Sad to close the door on my days as a teacher. I was really good at that. Also it is rather scary to have nothing for sure in the wings since my job at STAR comes to a close in July. But it will work out. I'm sure of that.

John Lennon was right. Life really is what happens while we are making other plans. It will be ok.

Enrich Your Word Power!

Word of the Day
Quote of the Day

This Day in History