I've been asking people a simple question that doesn't get the easy response I anticipated.
The question: What do you do for fun?
I heard on the radio it was National Have Fun month. That's makes me chuckle. For me, every month is dedicated to having fun.
Does that mean I have to do something special this month in addition to my normal fun-filled activities? I decided it would be an interesting question to ask others.
The perfect opportunity came as four of us couples met for a night of dancing. As we sat around the table, I mentioned it was National Have Fun month. "So, what are you doing for fun?" I asked them.
"Fun?" queried one woman, making it sound like she was repeating a foreign word she didn't quite understand.
"You're joking, right?" said another woman.
I expected them to say they were having fun just chatting with friends and moving to the beat on the dance floor.
What we four couples have in common is that we all love to dance. And we all belong to the same kayak club and Friday bike club.
With that kind of weekly activity, I thought we know how to have fun. But maybe we do those activities so much we regard it as routine. Our routine, at least.
Finally, when I pressed them, one friend says she goes line dancing for her version of fun. One of the guys said he just finished building a cardboard boat that he will race along with a buddy. OK, paddling across the bay in a cardboard boat that may sink any minute is definitely a fun-filled adventure.
He mentioned, too, that he was going to take the cardboard boat to the Great Fourth of July Freedom swim. That's definitely a fun happening here in our little piece of Paradise. The goal is to travel across two miles of water any fun-filled way you can. Some go in kayaks or motorboats. Some float on plastic inner tubes. Others swim the entire distance.
There are no rules and no purpose, except to have fun.
Ha. Wouldn't it be nice if more of life were like that? If performance didn't matter if all that mattered was enjoying yourself.
How many people do you think set aside time in their lives to have fun? From the informal survey I've been doing, it seems like "fun" isn't part of an average adult's vocabulary.
When I do newspaper interviews with men and women of great accomplishment, as I'm winding down the interview, I ask, "What do you do for fun?"
I'm surprised at how many people don't have an answer. Most say they read for fun. One woman said she writes poetry and gets together with friends for music jams.
I loved the answer I got from one successful business entrepreneur. He says when he wants to have fun he spends time with a child. Since his grandkids don't visit that often, he "borrows" a neighbor's little boy and has fun with him. Sometimes they build a model plane together. Sometimes they play ball. "Or, sometimes we just go for an ice cream cone. With a child, it's all fun," he said.
The most disappointing answer I received was one given by several people. "I'm too busy to have fun," said one businessman. "I have too much to do to have fun," insisted one grandmother who is raising her teenage grandson.
Another woman said she couldn't have fun because she doesn't have any money. There are tons of things to do that don't cost money. A walk through a nature preserve, a walk along the beach or just watching a sunset are soul-satisfying activities that don't cost money.
What I learned by doing my informal survey is not everyone thinks he or she should set time aside to do nothing but have fun. Maybe that's why someone came up with declaring National Have Fun month.
Some think fun is frivolous. I think it's necessary not just for one month a year.
But then, I guess it all depends on your definition of fun. I think most of life is fun. For me, something solitary like spending time in a library is fun. Being with a friend rates high and doing an outdoor activity rates highest of all on my fun meter.
As soon as I finish writing my column, I'm heading into my kitchen to have another version of fun I'm going to get inventive with a recipe. While some think cooking is drudgery, for me it's another creative way to have fun. I love to cook and love to put a different twist on a recipe.
Sometimes, my neighbor Kay laughs at my version of fun. She thinks it's crazy that my friends and I join in the drum circle each Saturday night on the beach. She refuses to even come to watch what she calls "being silly."
On the other hand, I call staying home like she does "house arrest." We all have a different version of fun. What's yours?