On Finding Fun, and My (Non-Existent) Surf Gurl Past

by Kim on June 19, 2012

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’m still only about halfway through it, but I’m so in love with it that I’m glad it’s taking me forever to read it. I don’t want it to end. In fact, when I’m done, I might seriously flip back to page 1 and start over. It’s one of those books you’d benefit from reading over and over again, because happiness is something you have to work at, everyday, forever, and we all need constant reminders like the ones sprinkled throughout this book to keep us on track. The book is absolutely jam-packed with juicy tidbits and ideas for how to live life to its fullest, and as I read it, I find myself having earth-shattering lightbulb moments almost every page.

Go buy it and read it immediately.

For example, today I was reading about Rubin’s efforts to infuse more fun into her life. To do that, she had to figure out what she found fun, and she made two great points that basically blew my mind with their so-shockingly-simple-and-suddenly-obvious trueness:

  • Just because something is fun for someone else doesn’t mean it’s fun for you.
  • We tend to overrate fun activities that we don’t do (but think we should or wish we did) and undervalue those that we do do (but think we shouldn’t or are embarrassed by).

fun1

There are a lot of things in life that I would like to like, or that I like the idea of. For example, I’ve always wanted to be a surfer, because I’m attracted to the surfing culture (living on the beach, totally carefree, running around all tan and tously-haired all day with your shark tooth necklace on). But I tried surfing once, the actual sport itself, and it pretty much sucked (this was under the tutelage of a deeply psychotic local dude in an off-the-map town in southern Mexico, who very nearly drowned us, but that’s another story). So as much as I’d love to love surfing, I don’t actually love it at all, and that’s fine.

fun2

Other things that are fun for other people, but not me, include:

  • Crafting and DIY projects. I really, really want to like these things. But in order for me to like them, I need to be (at least somewhat) good at them. And I really, really want to be good at them, but I’m just not. I don’t have a natural artistic eye and I definitely don’t have enough patience. It’s something I’d like to keep working on, and something I actually consider to be one of the goals of this blog (case in point: these sketchy shower decorations), but I’m focusing on improving at them more than learning to like them. I do have a tiny sliver of hope that I could maybe get a teensy bit better with practice, but I won’t be starting an Etsy site anytime soon. And the world is better that way, trust me.
  • Going to band concerts. I feel like admitting this here is like saying I hate baby animals. And I’m 100% anticipating that a bunch of hipsters will appear and start circling around me going “You don’t like MUSIC? The oxygen for the SOUL?” But there it is. Outside of a very small number of bands I’d be legitimately into seeing, this almost never appeals to me. I always think it’s too loud (because I’m 90), too crowded, too hard to see, and too expensive (I’m inexplicably thrifty about a very specific set of things…clothing is not one of them). Plus, I’m too embarrassed to yell or dance or wave my arms anyway, so what’s the point?

Even though I don’t actually like these things, I’ll find myself enthusiastically talking about doing them with people. Why? Because I think it’s cool to like these things, and so I should pretend to like them to be better accepted.

Meanwhile, I’m harboring away secret little hobbies and interests that I like but think I shouldn’t. The biggest example of this, for me, is reading trashy novels. Not like romance novel trashy (although to each her own), but just mindless, simple reading, usually of books with pretty glossy covers and raised bubble-lettered titles. FKA “beach reads.” As someone with a journalism degree who worked as a professional technical writer for 5 years, this isn’t the kind of reading I’m supposed to be into. When someone asks what I’m currently reading (or better, who I’m reading), I feel like I’m supposed to rattle off a list of obscure literary masterpieces by super prestigious (ideally, obscure) authors (if the person I’m talking to hasn’t heard of them, even better). But the truth is that I’m probably reading the latest Emily Giffin novel, in which the girl falls for the guy but thinks he’s too good for her and hides her feelings, only to find out later that he’d loved her since day one…yadda yadda yadda.

(Well, I guess right now, I would proudly fess up to reading The Happiness Project. But this is rare. I mean, obviously…it’s taken me a month to read half of the dang thing.)

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One of Rubin’s self-appointed commandments in The Happiness Project is to be herself. So in my case, my goal should be to “Be Kim,” and to embrace the things I actually enjoy instead of the ones I wished I enjoyed. Those are the things I need to be making room for in my life. And I need to start valuing the things I’m liking in secret. Who cares if I’m not reading Stephen King before bed at night? Does that mean I’m less intelligent or less accomplished in my field? No.

Is there something you’re pretending to like, but don’t, or are liking in secret?

Here’s another thing I’m bad at (and don’t even pretend to like): origami! Ha!

Source: damnlol.com via Gaylee on Pinterest

 

~Kim

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