There are many ways of having fun and these may involve solitary activities or include people or our animal friends. Andries Keyser of the Lions River Railway designed his stream train in way that made it possible for his dogs to accompany him when he drives the train. That makes it even more fun for him – and for his dogs! And others can benefit from it, too.
Two of his Facebook pages which you may find interesting are:
I was delighted when, taking my dog Shadow for a walk around Piggly Wiggly in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Andries approached me, admiring Shadow. We chatted and he spontaneously invited me to take her for a ride on the train. That was great fun for both of us!
Often we need to be reminded to build fun into our lives. We are so busy on the ‘treadmill of life’ trying to get the job done, that we forget to stop and enjoy ourselves. So we have to plan in order to build enjoyment into our busy schedules. However, it is equally important to leave ourselves open to recognise and spontaneously optimise opportunities. I hadn’t planned to go on the train – in fact, I didn’t know that you could take dogs on the train. I have only recently discovered how dog-friendly Piggly Wiggly is.
For me, this experience was great fun. Yet for some-one who doesn’t love dogs, or has a dog that doesn’t enjoy this kind of treat, it could be a painful experience. In fact, they might avoid any situation involving dogs. So it is important for us to remember that what feels like fun for one person is not enjoyable for another. As the saying goes, ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’. And it is important to consider the situation, too. If I were in a business environment, I most certainly would not be doing outrageous things like taking my dog for a train-ride on a miniature steam train!
What do you do on a regular basis that you could call ‘fun’? Although I am no ‘gym bunny’, I look forward to my visits to the gym, not just for the therapeutic results that exercise brings, but also for the social aspect. Some of my most interesting conversations take place there.
And then, once you are at the gym, it is important to do what you enjoy most. Some fill their minds with motivational tapes or enjoy listening to music. Others want to exercise while chatting to friends. I prefer the silence of my usual ritual of emptying my mind through my routine of ‘walking meditation’ whilst on the treadmill.
Often we avoid situations completely when it might be just one element that we experience in a negative way. In the gym example above, many find going to gym tedious and you might avoid going to gym. Ask yourself which aspects you might not be finding enjoyable. If your answer is that you feel isolated when doing gym on your own, consider how you might change just that aspect. You could try the various group sessions, get yourself a personal trainer or exercise with a friend. In addition you might plan to spend ten minutes after gym each day in the coffee shop facing the approaching people. The Universe might bring you some really interesting people to talk to!
So I have outlined the importance of spontaneous and planned fun. We have also considered how you might carefully look at a situation you consider not to be fun, and see if you can identify which aspects do not energise you. If you can turn those stumbling blocks into stepping stones, life could be much more fun. Fun energises and helps you reach potential in other areas of your life, too. So it is important to have fun.
My questions for you are:
- What constitutes fun for you?
- When last did you spontaneously have fun?
- In which ways can you make chores more enjoyable?
- How can you take something you are avoiding, identify the elements which you do enjoy and see how you can turn those stumbling blocks into stepping stones?