When last did you use the word ‘fun’? No, seriously. It’s a word (and a concept) that seems to fade as we grow older. When last did you actually do something fun? I’m not talking about pleasant or enjoyable, or about having a nice time. I’m talking about senseless, purposeless, rip-roaring fun just for the sake of it. That long? The thing is, as we emerge from the relatively carefree phase of child- and young adulthood, fun takes a back seat. Our culture tends to place it at the back of our life queue, under the ‘Little Attention’ label: way behind careers and incomes and politics and health and … well, just about everything else. Which is why we reach the point in long careers and increasingly stagnant lifestyles that the idea of fun has to be hauled off the shelf, dusted off and re-labelled ‘essential medication’. It’s intrinsic to good health, with its endorphins and other feel-good chemicals that goad our bodies into general wellbeing (and so much more effortless than a gym class!) Photo by zhang kaiyv on Unsplash As a life and business coach, I find clients baulking at this idea: how can you have fun where there is serious achieving to be done? The thing is, if there isn’t an element of fun in what you spend most of your life doing, then maybe you need a hard and long look at whether you’re in the right game. And outside of work, in your daily routine, how can introducing an element of fun be any worse than how you’re taking things on, right now? Fun isn’t the same for everyone. Martha Beck likes to refer to our ‘funprint’: the unique set of activities or circumstances that bring that warm, familiar stirring to your gut and sometimes even the smallest smile to your lips. Yours is different from everyone else’s. Just because it’s prescribed, doesn’t mean it’s prescriptive. There’s science, psychology and philosophy in the concept of consciously seeking pleasure; and unless you’re a rare, unstoppable psychopath, good times will never do any long-term harm. I know the question on your mind, right now: ‘but how?’. It’s difficult to find the fun switch if you’re in automatic gloom, inertia or drifting gears. Fun should be natural, but you can forgive yourself if you’ve drifted into no-man’s land when it comes to losing spontaneity. Photo by Driftime® Media on Unsplash It starts with awareness: recognizing that you’re missing out on those belly-bubble moments or hours that used to fill your youth. Then you’ll need to make a conscious decision to turn this around and commit to purposely looking for fun again. (It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t ‘fun’ just happen? Not if everything in you has forgotten how).