What Do You Do For Fun?

I’m going to say it: from about age 27 to age 33, I had no hobbies. My hobby was this business: getting it going, growing it bigger, making it better.

For years, I tried to buy only clothes I could wear to work. I tried to read books that would apply to my job. I had this singular focus that I thought admirable. And I would have kept on this path probably indefinitely.

What finally made me question my life: I was at a party where someone asked me very innocently what I did for fun. 

And I had no answer. It was the most boring I’ve ever felt.

If it is one thing I understand to my core is that I am not a boring person.

So I attempted to diversify. I started hosting people on AirBnB and began planning for Anchorspace (which is now open). These were my first attempt at diversifying.

Ha, nice try, Nicole. Filling your time with more money-making things. Still no answer to the question of what you do for fun.

How can I be bad at having fun?

This clearly had to change.

I am now in a young adult book club… and I have struggled to go to a single monthly hangout that involves wine and reading a book most people could read in half a day. Like most things that are fun and good for you, I always feel great once I’m there. It has been nice to now have at least one thing to say when someone asks me my hobbies.

But how ridiculous I feel lying on the couch reading “Paper Towns” for four hours is interesting to me. Many people would spend that many hours watching television, building miniature airplanes, or whatever it is they do to relax and not feel a thing about it. I feel guilty. I have to make myself do it.

I added more things to practice making myself have fun. Since then, I’ve tried standup comedy and podcasting. I bought bright blue pants. I took singing lessons. And it all felt a little uncomfortable at first… and then it wasn’t.

Good news? It’s getting easier. And as it does, I’ve been thinking about less structured fun. Can I build an hour of fun into a Wednesday? Maybe if I had a list of things that sounded fun, I could just pick from them.

I tried to come up with a list and was initially blank.

Then I realized I was trying too hard. So I have a list in a notebook and when I think of something that sounds fun, I write it down. Then when I’m bored, I can refer to it.

As I try to think of being an interesting person who is a creative and has fun, I think of this post from Elizabeth Gilbert, which I’ve saved from her book “Big Magic”:

Dear Ones -As many of you know by now, my new book BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR is coming out on September…

Posted by Elizabeth Gilbert on Monday, July 13, 2015

While it was important to make myself do the thing, I couldn’t put pressure on doing more stuff but instead, build the space for it to come in and out.

The other interesting part of this is it has been difficult to transition to someone who doesn’t share all the time. That’s part of ‘fun’ for me: not worrying about the presentation of it. So just enjoying the sunset (versus taking a picture of it and posting it to Instagram) has been a change for me.

Because of making room for fun and making sure it is something that isn’t done with another ulterior motive (like building my Instagram), my creativity (like finding more fun things to do) is increasing all the time.

I’ve now written things that aren’t on the internet, tried things I wasn’t very good at (ask Eric about the scarf I knit him), and otherwise have become a much more well rounded person, with some effort anyway.

Remember, when you are at a party, you want to say a few things you do for fun that don’t necessarily make you money… because life’s too short to feel like you’re boring. And the next time someone asks you at a party ‘What do you do for fun?’ I hope you’re as happy with your answers as I am with mine.

Nicole Ouellette
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she's not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

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