On to the first part of living so I can answer “Yes” to three questions.
Why are you not having fun right now, and every day? I know I value fun. Sometimes I want to live life like it was an adventure, and other times like I was at the spa, but the real question is if I am having fun. Each of your hours are precious, so why not enjoy every one of them? Each day you should open your eyes and think, “Yippee, more fun!” This is not an escape but a survival mechanism. Most of the time, when I am not having fun I realize it is more about my attitude than anything external. Often, though, I realize that there is something about my life I must change in order to have “fun.”
In the present, answer the question, Why am I not having fun? There might be various answers:
- Because I always argue with my wife
- Because I do not enjoy my job
- Because I am not serving my fellow man
- Because I just have a bad attitude
- Because I feel like I am getting old
- Because I don’t have any money
All of these answers are acceptable. The reasons I am not having fun are my reasons. The follow on question is, what can I do to change this? Answers, in reference to the complaints above, might be
- Wife problems – I am going to stop “being right” all the time.
- Job unhappiness – I will have a better attitude about my job…I have forgotten all the things I liked about it , or maybe…
- Job unhappiness – I will look for a new job, one that I enjoy, in the meantime, I will make the best of the one I have.
- Serving others – I will do something nice for someone today.
- Bad attitude – Think of all the things that are going right in your life.
- Getting old – Every day is a new day, and this is the first day of the rest of my life. Besides, who thought I would make it to this age, anyway?
- Money – What do I really need to be happy? Will that next purchase bring permanent meaningful fun, or will that just wear off and I will be yearning for that next “hit” of pleasure?
The key here I think, from a Stoic perspective, is control. I can control certain things about my life, whereas other things are out of my control. Squarely in my control is my impression of my current situation. Whatever your situation, it is yours so you might as well have fun. I tweeted a quote from Marcus Aurelius the other day, and I think it captured it well. In red is what I tweeted, followed by the whole quote, which I think is also important to having fun.
“In the morning when [you rise] unwillingly, let this thought be present: I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in the bed-clothes and keep myself warm? But this is more pleasant. [Do you] exist then to take [your] pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion? [Do you] not see the little plants, the little birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees working together to put in order their several parts of the universe? And [are you] unwilling to do the work of a human being, and [shouldn’t you] make haste to do that which is according to [your] nature?” –Meditations Book 5 #1
So have fun with your life, have fun today if you can. You don’t need a vacation, just have fun with the day you’ve been given.