Bring Fun Back To Your Life!

How To Change Your Perception of Fun To Enjoy This Life More Fully

I had a lot of fun when I was a kid. I remember summers filled with riding bikes, building campsites in the woods, and swimming in my friend’s pool. Having fun was just a way of being.

For a child, fun is simple. For example, look at the image above; that’s my friend and me in the 90s, picking up rocks with big smiles on our faces. It was really that simple! But for an adult, it becomes very complicated.

Fun Becomes More Complex and More Expensive

The little things don’t do it anymore, and we want bigger and better things. When we were little, we would have fun running and chasing each other in a game of tag. When we got tired, we would stop. There was no real purpose to it, but it was fun nonetheless. Now we set goals like running a marathon. We push our bodies to the limits and ignore the cues it gives us if it is tired.

Money becomes more intertwined with our perception of what fun is. Some might even perceive that the more money you have, the more fun you will have. Some adults even go to a casino where they spend money to win more, but mostly lose it and think of it as fun.

I’m not going to tell you that money can’t buy fun. You’ll have to decide that for yourself. I can tell you that a study performed in 2010 analyzed the correlation between happiness and income. That study concluded that max happiness through income was achieved at $75,000 ($90,000 in today’s money). I have made three times that in a year and was severely depressed while making that. Our happiness is based on our perception. Maybe you make $100,000/year, and most of your social network makes $50,000/year. The chances of you feeling happy with your life would be higher than if you made that same $100,000 and your friends all made $500,000/year. In that scenario, you may yearn for what your friends have in life—the same income with two different perceptions.

The Adult Fun Phenomenon

“ If I could buy a big boat, it would be so much fun!”

“Buying a  huge RV would be like a home on wheels and make camping more fun!”

“If I could have an expensive sports car, I could look cool going 70mph like every other car on the highway.”

The adult fun phenomenon is when adults ruin their fun by thinking of ways to increase it. For example, my friend bought a huge boat, and a few months later, he was talking to me about purchasing an even bigger boat. So instead of being present and fully enjoying his purchase, he was already caught in the adult fun phenomenon.

I have a personal example of this. I remember riding my bike as a kid. My friends and I would spend most days doing something with our bikes. We would build jumps, find hills to race down and go to a nearby ice cream shop. We would even customize our bikes by spray painting them. We had a lot of fun just messing around with them, and the crazy part is we had little to no purpose. But, unknowingly, through boredom, we gave our minds enough space to create an idea of what fun we would have that day.

Fast forward to adulthood. I hadn’t been on a bike for a while. I moved to a house that had nearby mountain bike trails. After some contemplation, I decided to get a mountain bike. The first time I hit the trail, it brought me back to childhood. It was freaking fun!! Rolling over rocks, climbing hills, and just connecting to the flow of the path. It’s a great hobby, and I highly recommend it for many reasons, but the fun factor is at the top. Ah, but like any neurotic adult mind, I could only enjoy something for so long before I wanted more.

 I started riding my bike with a group of other riders. They all had much nicer bikes and were all faster than I was. I immediately felt I was behind. So I started looking at ways to make my bike better. I was even considering $2000 carbon fiber wheels. Yes, you read that right!

When riding with the group, there was no time for smelling the roses. Ride time was about how much ground you could cover and how fast you could do it. I soon wanted to get a device to track my miles, cadence, and other metrics. You know, to increase the fun! Oh, no doubt I had to post all this Uber-important information on an app to show others how good I am at riding bikes. The app would congratulate you on how many miles you rode at the end of the year so you could begin trying to beat that the following year.

Can you see the craziness in all of this?

The fun was being pushed away by trying to make it more fun or the illusion of trying to make it more fun. It was turning more into a job than the fun act of riding a bike in the woods.

One of the many cool places I have found exploring on a bike.

Fortunately, I recognized this and didn’t buy the carbon wheels or the fancy tracking device. I deleted the biking social media app. I regained that sense of fun and carefree state of mind when riding on the trails. If I saw something interesting on the trail, I stopped and explored. There’s no time to beat anymore. My time riding my bike is an open invitation to explore with no goal in mind. It’s just freaking fun.

Benefits of Ditching The Adult Fun Phenomenon

  • For one, you’ll enjoy an activity more. Without constantly thinking about how you could improve an activity, leave your mind open to be present in doing it. You can enjoy the wind on your face, the movement of your body, and the sights and sounds around you.
  • You’ll save money. When there’s no need to upgrade equipment or keep making an experience “better, ” you’ll spend much less money.
  • More freedom! Your schedule is more fluid whenyourself or any you don’t take activity too seriously. For example, If you’re training for a marathon, you will have to run often. If you don’t run, you will feel bad that you didn’t train. On the other hand, without a serious goal, you can do whatever activity you want.

Looking at your own life, what did you enjoy as a child? Can you do that activity as an adult? Do you already do it but with the constant thought of “how can I make this better”? Or are you thinking, “If only I had [Insert big expensive item here], then I could have fun?” Why not try and simplify your idea of fun? Instead of a big boat, maybe buy a paddle board, or instead of an RV, buy a tent! Your child self would think that is awesome, and so can you. Simplifying your idea of fun will save you money, make your dreams more easily attainable and improve your quality of life! You won’t wish you had money to buy expensive things or fly to extravagant places. You’ll be busy having fun with what you have right now! What do you think about this idea? Do you have a story about the Adult Fun Phenomenon in your life? It would be fun to hear about it in the comments!

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