What do you consider fun?

A Happy, Healthy and Fun 2019 to You!

My up-front apologies to Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and, in this case, Tom Tom Club, but I’m borrowing their second question from “Genius of Love”: “What do you consider fun?”

Fun, “the other f-word”, as I like to call it, can get a bad name. Fun often getting tossed into a barrel of conflation with with the likes of “irresponsible, irrational, insignificant, indulgent”, too state but a few. There’s also the notion that fun needs to be walled-off – kept waiting in the wings – until weekends, holidays or vacations roll around, lest it seep in and spoil the seriousness of real life…

The first definition of Fun given on the online Oxford English Dictionary is: “Enjoyment, amusement, or light-hearted pleasure.”

Here’s a tale from my early days as a ski instructor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming: I was riding the lift with a student on a sunny, cold morning. I was 20 or 21 years-old at the time, and the gentleman next to me was an established, successful businessman, easily two decades my senior. Halfway up the Apres Vous Mountain chair, the fellow turns to me and asks, “So Ken, what do you do in real life?”

My brain did some flopping around as I fumbled for an answer. All I knew in that moment was that I was doing what I wanted to do, fulfilling a dream I’d had since I’d first tasted the freedom that comes with flying down a snowy mountainside. I was giving my students a taste of my passion, inviting them into my world… and I was having big fun!

As I continued to wrestle with his question, not really sure where to take it, I said, “I’m a paid assassin.”

After letting that settle in for a moment, I added, “This is my real life,” because it was.

Up the mountain we went, talking as the chairlift’s steel cable drew us to the top of our next run. He clarified that by “real life” he meant “off-season”, and I shared a bit about art school. We unloaded and were off for a study of the fine art of linking stem-christies…

The conversation has stuck with me for a number of reasons. (In no small part, by the way, because, well, “I’m a paid assassin”…) Mostly, I believe, because it was clarifying and pivotal for me. Looking back I can see that I gave language to a stake I’d hammered into the ground, declaring that the life I’m leading gets to be real AND fun.

It isn’t either/or.

It’s both.

Back to Tina and Chris’s question: what do you consider fun?

Just out of curiosity, do you give yourself as much permission to bring the same portion of energy and focus to your play as you do your work?

This is, after all, your real life…