Last year I participated in ‘Uplift Women’s Wellness Day 2015’ in Warwick. It was the culmination of months of hard work by the Community Network of Warwick team, its many co-opted members, and dozens of supporters. All the planning, negotiating, advocating, collaborating, promoting and presenting saw 80 women actively engaged in seminars and mini-workshops that promoted health and wellness. I presented a seminar near the tail end of the day titled “Navigating the Next Stage of Your Journey”. This article is based on my presentation.
The smiling faces I was surrounded by were having a contagious effect on everyone in the room, including me. Life can be SO serious, and for me, the women around me were providing that incredibly important reminder to have fun.
Earlier in the day I had participated in a workshop session on personality. As the facilitator posed a series of questions, we were required to navigate to various parts of the room which indicated our responses. Lo and behold I found myself sharing space with like-minded “conscientious” women. One of the things we discovered we had in common was the deep and serious attitude we bring to many aspects of our lives: parenting, relationships, work and study, health and sickness, paying the bills, the state of the world – it’s all serious business! And in our serious attitude to life, we also recognised we had an appreciation for organisation and planning.
As the wellness day continued, I heard and saw so many other inspiring ideas about women’s health and wellness that I found myself seriously [over]thinking what it is that I needed to do to take better care of me. And there is a certain pressure in this that can be counter-productive – there is a tendency to try to fit yet another activity into our already hectic lives.
On reflection, the real souvenir I picked up at the wellness day was the plain simple idea of making space for fun. Fun is not something that I HAVE to schedule in, just ANOTHER thing I have to fit into my day. Fun is an attitude that I can choose, and I can allow it to permeate the seriousness of life, bringing an experience of joy and relaxation to many things I do.
Following this moment of insight, I’ve been focusing on allowing a sense of fun to permeate my day. You could say I’ve been on a pursuit to discover more about fun!
A few years ago I began mountain biking, so obviously I already know a bit about fun! But even mountain biking risks crossing the line into the territory of ‘serious business’ for those of us with the conscientious and perfectionist personality types!
Some days I need to work really hard at focusing my attitude of ‘fun’ on my inner compass. Fun can look different on different days.
Some days the best fun is simply rolling along wherever we happen to go and soaking up as much of nature as I possibly can; having a picnic in the middle of nowhere and lying back staring up into the tall trees to the blue sky and clouds that seem infinitely far away.
Some days fun can be found in the competitiveness of a spontaneous sprint up a hill to see who can make it to the top first, puffing and laughing so hard that talking just isn’t going to happen!
Other days the riding is the sort that absolutely scares the pants off me and I’m holding on for dear life, storm clouds going through my mind “What the heck am I doing here? Exercise is supposed to make happy hormones, right? Then why am I so terrified!” And then when it’s all over, there’s that electric feeling of elation, knowing I conquered a fear, knowing that I’m out there having a go and living life as fully as I can while I can. And that’s fun!
So seriously people, point your attitude towards fun. Let it take you an a journey that will colour your life with joy and contentment, friendship and fellowship, lightness and balance. There is always time and space for an attitude of fun.