One of Gretchen Rubin’s “secrets of adulthood” is:
“What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.”
If you’re not already familiar with her, Gretchen Rubin is an author who studies happiness and good habits. She hosts a fabulous podcast called Happier, has created a fascinating four tendency framework, and has written books like The Happiness Project, Better Than Before, and her newest, The Four Tendencies. I love her work, and know that many of you do too.
I first heard Gretchen share this “secret of adulthood” on her podcast sometime last year. It’s a simple statement–“What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa”–but it really impacted me. When she mentioned it again in a recent episode, I knew I had to write a blog post about it.
Why don’t I think this is fun?
There have been countless times in my life where I’ve thought: Why don’t I think this is fun? I can recall many instances of experiencing this feeling throughout my childhood and into high school and college.
In those later years, I mostly felt like an oddball because I have never found drinking and partying to be fun. I have a handful of funny memories of nights when I went out in college, and standing in a crowded party with other college students, I thought Am I missing something? I wasn’t having any fun, but apparently everyone around me was having the time of their lives!
What it really boils down to this simple principle: what’s fun for other people may not be fun for me! (And vice versa!)
Do you know what you find fun?
I think many people probably do know what they find fun, but I’m certain there are many who don’t. It’s important to consider what you actually find fun–not what your family finds fun, not what your significant other finds fun, not what your friends find fun, not what society, the media, or social media tells you is fun–but what you actually find fun!
On Gretchen’s podcast, she recently shared a story on this subject. Apparently she and her friend were chatting at a dinner party, and her friend was gushing about her family’s recent ski trip. Gretchen expressed how glad she was that her friend had enjoyed herself so much, but that she herself would not find a ski trip to be fun. Her friend went on to list all the reasons why ski trips are fun, but Gretchen reiterated her stance. Later in the evening, the friend found Gretchen again and told her that their conversation had sparked a revelation within her–she realized that she didn’t actually enjoy ski trips!
I think many of us can relate to the ski trip woman. How many times do we consider activities or trips to be fun because they’re “supposed” to be fun, but we don’t actually find them fun?
It comes down to knowing and accepting oneself
In the end, I think it comes down to first knowing ourselves, and then accepting ourselves as we are. We all have finite time and resources, and I believe that in the moments when we have time for fun, we should know what we find fun, whether it’s popular or not.
If you don’t like ski trips, you don’t like ski trips. If concerts make you overwhelmed and aren’t fun to you, concerts make you overwhelmed and aren’t fun to you. If cooking and baking make you stressed, cooking and baking make you stressed. If watching movies makes you feel antsy, watching movies makes you feel antsy. If exercising is a nightmare to you, exercising is a nightmare to you.
That’s not to say you’ll never go on a ski trip, go to a concert, cook, bake, watch a movie, or exercise again–it’s to say that you don’t find those things fun. And that’s okay!
In this blog post, Gretchen writes:
“The fact is, nothing’s inherently fun. Shopping, drinking wine, watching sports on TV, crossword puzzles…none of these things are fun for me. But they’re fun for other people. Recently I heard from a reader who thinks it’s fun to balance a checkbook! We all have our own ideas of fun.”
On the flipside, you gotta own what you find fun. And when you have time to do something you find fun, do what you actually find fun! You catch my drift?
Go have fun!
What do you find fun? I think taking walks, writing in my journal or on my blog, bubble baths, watching YouTube videos, going to Walt Disney World, online shopping, organizing projects around the house, cooking from scratch, hosting small dinner parties, grocery shopping, coffee dates, planning trips, dabbling in essential oils, snail mail, and being at home are all very fun to me.
Decidedly not fun to me? Large parties, loud/crowded bars or restaurants, concerts, any sport where I feel “put on the spot” (i.e. kickball, softball, volleyball, basketball), scary movies, staying out late, long road trips, playing instruments, intense exercise, camping, and acting (i.e. charades, theater).
Riley wanted to chime in with his lists. Here they are verbatim. What he finds fun: video games, loud concerts, scary movies, talking about nerdy things at length with friends (i.e. Dungeons and Dragons), shopping, researching anything, going to Disney, listening to and playing music, trying new things, and home improvement projects. What he does not find fun: organized events (he ranted about this for five minutes), itineraries, and camping.
// I would love to hear from you! What do you find fun? What’s not fun to you? Is there anything you find fun that most people don’t, or anything you don’t find fun that most people do?
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