When was the last time YOU had this much fun?
This week for our How I Write series
, my accountability group asked, “What’s the last thing you did strictly for fun? Strictly for yourself?”
“Oh, easy question!” I hear you… but take a second and think about it! We get so caught up in our daily routines that it’s all work, work, work. Or at least the same things over and over again. Also, if you’re like me, everyone else comes first. Sometimes this is necessary, pets can’t fend for themselves as easily. Nor can little kids. Even our significant others often need that extra bit of help to get them through their days…
So… did you think that was one question? On first read, I did. What was the last thing I did for fun, for myself? Just for me? You’re kidding right? Let’s see… my oldest was born in 1997… oh wait… no, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But honestly, I do tend to put myself last.
Strictly for Fun
When was the last time you drove down the road, windows open, music blaring and sang along like you didn’t care? Yeah, I can’t remember either.
What about dancing around like a maniac, maniac… oops 80s flashback there. Rolling down a hill or spinning in circles until you were dizzy?
Why do we give these simple joys up?
Anyway… to answer that as one question… I’d say the 365 photo project is probably the last thing I’ve done for fun that’s just for me. I’m so glad Kim & Mel talked me into it! Is it stressful taking a photo every day? I was afraid it would be, but it’s actually been very relaxing. I’ve only had a couple days when I was either so sick or exhausted that it was the last thing I wanted to do, but it felt wrong not to do it. Do I feel a certain pressure to perform and take that “perfect shot” each day? Not really. I’m very fortunate in where I live and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my photos, but I’ve also realized that taking and discovering the resulting photos is just something that makes me happy. Don’t get me wrong, I like it when others like the same ones I do, but I find the photos more refreshing than the comments. I have zero aspirations about getting into a magazine, gallery or anything like that, so I’m working on pleasing myself and learning the controls on my camera. My favorite shots go into rotation on my screen saver and make me smile when I walk back through the room.
Strictly for Myself
Now, you could also read “What’s the last thing you did strictly for fun? Strictly for yourself?” as two separate questions. I’m still sticking with the above for the first part… but what about “What was the last thing I did strictly for myself?” That’s a much tougher question for me. Most of my days are still focused on making sure life keeps moving around me. I’ve gotten better about taking time for myself and doing things I enjoy, but I’m also prone to letting my days slide past and then scrambling to catch up on the stuff that has to get done, leaving me stressed and overwhelmed. My mom used to laugh at me because I took my “me time” on Sunday afternoons at the grocery store. It was an hour where I knew my husband would be home with the kids and I didn’t have to do or think about anything I didn’t want to. I could have an hour of near silence! Bliss! Yup, fooled myself good there, didn’t I?
There are two things that I started doing just for me in the past year or so. Once a month, two of my friends from when my son was in Cub Scouts and I go out to brunch. We take a couple hours to visit and gossip and share what’s going on in our lives. These people help ground me and also provide perspective. It’s a nice break from routine and is now something we’ve all come to look forward to each month.
The other is taking one Saturday a month and attending my RWA SD Chapter meetings. This seems like it might be getting close to fooling myself again, but having the day to myself without family obligations and surrounding myself with other writers really helps me recharge and keep the enthusiasm levels high for writing. I’m an introvert, so this sounds counter intuitive, but my chapter is awesome that way. I don’t feel pressured to perform, I can just sit and soak up everyone’s energy and boy does that chapter have it in spades! The announcements for sales, agent requests, contests and good news takes forever to get through! I definitely wouldn’t be stepping out of my comfort zone as much as I have if not for this great group of people. An instant cheering section, a sympathetic ear AND a great resource all rolled up into one.
What? Just two days a month? 24 days a year? That’s all I take and do for myself? It doesn’t sound like much and I’m sure there are dozens of smaller things I do far more regularly, but those are the big ones that stand out for me as being significant and ones that have also made positive changes in my outlook and attitude. The fact that both incorporate the ideas of “fun” and “for myself” make all the difference for me.
Stop what you’re doing & have some fun! Do it for yourself.
YOUR TURN: So… What’s the last thing you did strictly for fun? Strictly for yourself? (Feel free to answer it as one question or two!)
And if you’d like to read about how the rest of my accountability group answered, you can find their blogs here:
* Alexia Reed * Kimberly Farris *
* Angeleque Ford * Danie Ford * Emma G. Delaney