Happiness Project Update 15: Getting A Mango Every Now and Then

24 Oct

“Finding more fun.”  I’m enjoying this chapter in Rubin’s book. I’m all about more fun, and less interested in mid-thirties malaise. Well now it’s late-thirties malaise.

I never knew that fun fit into three categories: Challenging Fun, Accommodating Fun, and Relaxing Fun. I’ve had my share of experience in all three.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

Apparently with all the research, “challenging fun” yields the most satisfying feelings, but it is also the most demanding and requires a lot of hard work. It often presents anxiety and frustration during the preparation period, but the payoff is great.

Case in point … The triathlon I just finished. This definitely fit into the challenging fun category. Although it didn’t really create frustration or anxiety, the training and preparation leading up to the race was difficult and demanding. The only time I felt frustrated was when someone of something impeded my training regiment. I thought I’d be seriously sidetracked during the race if I didn’t meet my daily training regiment, and doing well was part of the fun for me.

But competing in the triathlon itself left me in an amazing I-am-badass frame of mind. Sports competitions in general made me feel that way, and winning had nothing to do with it, although it helps. But it’s not required. Participating was the achievement for me. It was jolt I needed to ease the my late-thirties malaise. I realized that challenging fun, the sports kind, needed to be a recurring theme in my own quest for happiness.

Accommodating fun? This was just a part of being a parent and a being the better half in a relationship. You go to places just to appease the other person. Fun is happening but maybe not directly for you. Stuff like going to the park with your kids, when all you really want to do is stay at home because you’re exhausted from the night shift. But you go because you know your kids want to be there.You just ignore the Mommy & Me Mafia group hanging out by the swings.

For couples, Accommodating Fun is essential for survival. It’s going out with your partner’s friends and hanging out. This definitely requires accommodation, because sometimes your partner, dude, or chick has friends that you just can’t see in person. You don’t hate them or anything, you just feel that hanging out with them is truly a waste of time because if you had met them randomly on a separate occasion by yourself, you would never hang out with these people. I mean ever. Ever. They’re just not your crowd.

But you do it because apparently it’s fun for someone, just not you.

I’m not into these accommodating fun things. For kids, yes I’ll do just about anything, as long as my kids enjoy themselves, I’m up for it. However, hanging out with some of my dude’s friends … not so much. Some of his friends are good. However, it’s the others … my life is too short for the others. When we were dating I might have made an exception but now that I’m older and wiser, with gray hairs popping out, I realized my time is extremely valuable. So when it comes the others, I’d rather stay home and watch cable television. This is much more engaging, exciting and stimulating. Cable TV is pretty amazing.

Television. According to Rubin, this is considered Relaxing Fun — the kind of fun that’s easy, no stress and no preparation involved.

Dude … working your DVR to record all your shows is definitely stressful. You want to make sure you get the whole show and that it’s not accidentally erased because someone changed the channel.

And since I’m a total television addict, I disagree with Rubin and think Relaxing Fun is very essential. It creates escape from your day-to-day malaise and sometimes gives you that edge-of-your-seat drama or comedy that makes you think, that makes you dream, that makes you crack up, that lifts your spirits up, and that makes your day. If you don’t feel like that … you’re probably watching the wrong shows.

But out of all of them, I guess Rubin’s is right. Challenging fun in the long run, contributes more to your happiness because it allows for stronger personal bonds, mastery, and an atmosphere for growth.

I realized that I needed a little bit more of that in my life. I don’t know if I’ll be doing triathlons every month. I sincerely doubt it. I’m not Wonder Woman, but I do need that Challenging Fun at least once a month. I need all kinds of fun once week, but the Challenging Fun … I need that to thrive. I need it to feel more like myself. I need it so that instead of all these lemons life gives me, I’ll end up with a sweet mango every now and then.


10 Responses to “Happiness Project Update 15: Getting A Mango Every Now and Then”

  1. TBM October 25, 2012 at 1:42 AM #

    The mommy and me mafia—lol. I remember going to mommy and me camp once when I was a kid. Hated it! Hated it! hated it! Not sure why we went since we weren’t the type to fake being happy all of the time. Some moms are crazy with their craft projects and huge fake smiles that never leave their face…doesn’t that hurt? And this was before botox.

    • The Guat October 26, 2012 at 10:19 PM #

      Yeah I’m not a big fan of that group, most chicks I ran into were a little fake so I tend to stay away 🙂 (You might have guessed that from my next post)

  2. island traveler October 25, 2012 at 3:46 AM #

    Your zest for life and making challenges that brings fun and excitement to a new level inspires me. It is hard to be a parent, to be a spouse, to be a good worker bee and many more. Finding our reasons to brings back that spark, that smile, that motivation is definitely worth every ounce of sweat , even tears. A post that has a lot of heart.Thanks.

    • The Guat October 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM #

      Yes it’s definitely hard to keep that zest when you have be everyone and do everything. Your sparks dims, but I do find reasons to get it back up there…have to…otherwise I wouldn’t make it. Humor helps. Most definitely.

  3. Currie Rose October 27, 2012 at 8:43 AM #

    I really love this post. Thank you for writing it and introducing me to Rubins book. I now must read this book. I am working 6 days a week right now and I am about to become a major part of some kids lives as their mother deals with a pretty big illness…. Every morning when I wake up exhausted and depleted (I work with toddlers 5 days a week and kids age 4-11 one day a week), wondering how to fill my cup, I think to myself how I so badly crave some fun in my life. It sounds like Rubins book might help me clarify how fun is best suited for my life right now.

    So glad I stopped by.

    Have a great weekend,

    • The Guat October 31, 2012 at 3:18 PM #

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you stopped by too. Working with kids is tiring at any age. Exhausting, really so you’re right sometimes fun may be out of reach when all you want to do is relax 🙂 BUT Rubin’s book is pretty good. I was skeptical at first, really skeptical … thinking what can this chick who’s already got more than I can dream of tell me about happiness? What’s her mid-lfe malaise crisis?

      But she had a lot of good bits, reminders, and projects to “fill my cup” on a weekly basis, sometimes even daily. So I started my own Happiness Project and post updates almost every week. Found ways of adding more “life” to my life … you know even when you’re a broke starving writer with two kids like myself 🙂 Let me know what you think when you pick it up. 🙂

      This is the very first post.



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