The Importance of Fun

Thank goodness for birthdays.

This week my friend Carol’s birthday provided the impetus for an informal, on-the-job get together. Rose, definitely the most culinary-gifted member of our team, made a to-die-for chocolate mousse cake piled high with fresh berries and shaved white chocolate. Martha would have been proud to put her name on it!

To make it even better, Rose also brought her gourmet whipped cream charger -  a steel cylinder-shaped container filled with nitrous oxide. Apparently nitrous oxide is used because it migrates easily into the cream so that when the cream dispenser’s valve is opened, the cream is forced out of the nozzle by the high pressure and becomes instant frothy whipped cream.

While Carol, the birthday girl, clearly heard Rose’s admonition to make sure the nozzle was pointed downward, she somehow missed the “go slow” part of the instructions. Being serious about her whipped cream, Carol diligently pointed the canister downward and pushed down - hard.

It might help to visual the force of the erupting whipped cream knowing that these chargers are also used as a source of nitrous oxide for small, powerful model rockets. It was this force that startled Carol into jerking the charger to one side, thereby unleashing a spew of whipped cream that shot across the room.

Of course it didn’t all make it across the room because much of the whipped cream was blocked - by my face. It also splattered down the front of our boss who was sitting beside me.

I think Carol apologized but given her giggling snorts it was hard to tell for sure.

The whole incident took place so quickly and so unexpectedly that everyone absolutely lost it, erupting into such uncontrolled, belly rolling laughter that legs had to be crossed.

Every time the laughter tapered down, there’d be yet another comment that would set us off again. When we finally regained some semblance of sanity, we were all still smiling - struck by how unbelievably good we all felt.

It was a clear and important reminder that, especially in tough times, fun and laughter are amazingly therapeutic and something we all need.

Unfortunately, like many others, I was raised to think that fun was trivial and unimportant. However I’m learning that people doing great things also tend to be people who are having great fun doing them.

It made me think that I have to get past thinking that fun is just a diversion. I have to think of it as a road map to great things.

The experts say that real fun can be defined as renewable pleasure – enjoyable regardless of how many times you do them. While that puts the kibosh on too much drinking, eating, drugs, or retail therapy, it does leave the door wide open for a lot of other kinds of fun.

So what do we do if we aren’t all that good at having fun? How can we find more of it?

Start by thinking about, and writing down, the things you remember doing as child. Pay special attention to the things that absorbed you completely and made you lose track of time. Look for patterns in your play. Did you like playing alone or playing with others? Were you active or artistic, indoors or outdoors? Were you playing with things or thoughts? There are clues in your answers that will help you find, or perhaps rediscover, what will bring you fun. 

You could also simply list all the things you enjoy doing. There will likely be one item on that list that will bring a smile to your face and direct the way to what could ultimately bring more joy into your life.

The challenge for each of us is to answer the question, “What am I doing for fun?  If you can’t answer it, you have some serious work to do! Or is that serious fun? 


Posted on 02-15-09


Brenda, you’re the funniest!!

•Posted by Lori  on  02/17/09  at  08:53 AM


Indeed, I was laughing about that all weekend.  Perhaps we should get serious about this whipped cream fun - whipping cream Wednesdays anyone?

•Posted by Heather  on  02/17/09  at  11:48 AM

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