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.


Jaquandor said...

I agree that fun is defined by the person having the fun, and not the thing that is being done by the person. I'm reminded of a Star Trek episode, of all things, when Kirk spies Scotty in the rec room; he's sitting in a corner, reading technical journals. Kirk says, "Don't you ever relax?", and Scotty says, "I am relaxing!"

Work and play don't have to be two different things.

Grandma Pat said...

I've had the experience of going to an amusement park with the grandkids. The park itself wasn't fun for me. The fun was just being with the kids and watching how much fun they were having.

We had 3 grandkids spend a week with us last summer. "I" had so much fun I asked them to come again this year.

Yeah, I agree, fun is defined by the person having it. And, yes, pulling weeds can be fun!

Jen said...

Great post! My VT'ers had a breakfast once, inviting all the sisters they teach and we answered a similar questionnaire. It was really fun to get to know the other women in the ward that I don't often see outside of church.

Grandma Pat said...

I used your 'getting to know you' questions when we went VT to a new sister the other day. Worked well.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I completely agree - fun is in the attitude. I had a ridiculous amount of fun one night on a date while lost - he was trying to find an address, I was having the time of my life, and he says later (after we were married) that my attitude under stress made him fall in love with me.

I don't know what was up with that, though - I hate not being able to find an address. :)

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