December 8, 2009

Your Fun Is Not My Fun

In talking about fun, that great American philosopher Spongebob Squarepants sang that F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for you and me, N is for anywhere and anytime at all.

So besides the obvious spelling issues here, I think that there is another big "miss" --- basically, what you consider to be fun may bore me to f'ing tears. And vice versa. Your fun is not my fun.

Last week a friend of mine suggested we go for a run together. Okay, time for weirdness and feeble excuse. I like running, and I like you, and I sure as hell am not gonna run with you. Running is me time, an escape from other people. You may like running with other people, I don't. Your fun is not my fun.

This sounds obvious, and yet is I think a breakthrough. Just because I like running and like you, doesn't mean I like running with you, which always made me feel awkward or obnoxiously selfish somehow, like I should want to do this. Not anymore.

The rest of Canada was watching the Grey Cup last week (Yanks - think Super Bowl but way smaller, and Canadian), I have zero interest. Drinking tequila, seeing horror films, playing hockey, standing in line to see New Moon, reading Sarah Palin's book... all things I just don't enjoy.

It's a mystery why we like some things and not others, and why those things change. Used to love skiing, haven't done it in ages. Use to love Count Chocula, haven't had it in decades. Use to hate the music of Sinatra and Elvis, now think it is amazing. Why?

According to The Happiness Project, there are three types of fun: challenging fun, accommodating fun, relaxing fun. Challenging fun - my learning to run and working hard at it, enjoying it and feeling sense of accomplishment. Accommodating fun - reading a princess book to my 4-year-old niece, not something I would do on my own and yet fun because am spending time with her. Relaxing fun - curling up in the basement with Hummer-size popcorn and watching seven episodes of "Bones" back-to-back on DVD - totally enjoyable with zero effort. All types of fun are, well, fun.

So should I accommodate fun, and go running with this person? It would presumably make her happy, I do like running, we could all do with being a bit kinder to others. And yet I would enjoy the run more if I went by myself, my own best challenging fun. Does it seem weird or nasty to say would rather do it by myself than with you? (ooh, dirty comment in there somewhere).

Easy answer - screw what you want, it is about me me me. Gonna run with myself. Inside at the gym - it's a tad chilly out there.


Gretchen Rubin said...

Hi Brahm- I saw the nice mention of my blog, The Happiness Project, here. I very much appreciate those kind words and you shining a spotlight on my blog. Thanks and best wishes, Gretchen Rubin

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