The Ancient Art of Fun
By Chloe Fyvie Adams |
We live in a world of scheduling, where every hour is planned and spontaneity feels like an unpleasant surprise. We spend our present time calculating how we will spend future time, and our “real” adult life has been reserved for a serious nature. In between all this, something gets lost. It’s something that animals do naturally that human beings try to cram into sports, games, and “the weekend.”
I am talking about a little word called fun.
Existentially, this is problematic. Not only does seriousness make us less creative, enthusiastic, and motivated, it can prematurely age us and strain healthcare and insurance systems—causing over 150,000 deaths worldwide each year.
Schools have tried to reduce stress in young learners by eliminating corporal punishment and homework and using gamification to make learning more entertaining. But long hours sitting indoors and less time spent in nature are still physically stressful. Humans are a bit like sharks; we benefit from being in motion or physically engaged.
With inactivity being the second largest cause of death worldwide, and depression, anxiety, and insomnia linked to long hours staring at a computer screen, it feels like our work habits need re-evaluation.
“Humans are a bit like sharks; we benefit from being in motion.”
The New Normal
Coronavirus (Covid-19) has caused many people to work from home, effectively decentralizing the workforce. This has resulted in some positives, lower city center rent costs and less traffic and pollution, and some negatives, more congestion, drunk driving, and overall workforce stress.
Before the lockdown, I didn't have much time to focus on myself. After battling traffic every evening, I would come home stressed from the congested Cape Town roads and reckless drivers. With less time and emotional capacity for my partner, I would reserve all my leisure activities to the time between 7 pm and 10 pm, or move them to the weekend. But it never quite worked. I still felt stressed because it became increasingly difficult to find the right balance between “fun” and “serious.”
From my lockdown experience, I can now say that I have more time to focus on myself and my well-being. I don’t have to deal with some of the many stresses associated with traveling to and from work every day and all the distractions in between. By having an overall greater feeling of "leisure," I grew as a person and became smarter, faster, and more effective at my job.
And when I looked back, I realized it was the small things that have enriched my life so much—sitting on my balcony in the sun, going for a walk, playing with my rabbit, and talking to my partner or my family.
When a day is peppered with fun moments consistently, I believe it makes for a fuller life.
“The ancient art of fun” is not only meant to be enjoyed by our childhood selves—it should be a part of our everyday lives—it’s something we should strive to experience on a regular basis and avoid putting on the backburner. How I live my days will one day be how I've lived my life. I don't want to wait until my last remaining years to relish it.
Animator at Construct