Tag Archives: challenging fun

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.

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