Wouldn't It Be Fun To...

About once a year for the past few years, I’ve thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to take a hot air balloon ride?”

Like clockwork, the next thought, is, “It’s too much time, too much money. What’s the point?” It’s like a Pac-Man swallowing the first thought whole.

The Pac-Man in me believes fun is indulgent. It’s bought into the rugged American ethic: work is the worthy way to spend our time; anything that isn’t work should be in service of making me work better. Plenty of sleep so I can be in top form for work. Read fiction so I can be more creative at work. Meditate so I can have revelations about work.

Aye yai yai. What a glum way to live.

We owe the Pac-Man part of us nothing; we are more at risk of indulging in overwork than overplay. And a life absent play is a life absent one of the greatest privileges of being human: joy.

Here’s a practice to experiment with: When we start a thought with, “Wouldn’t it be fun to…” we treat it not as a red, but a green flag. GO! Pay attention to this. See if there’s energy there. If so, run towards it.

In other words, respect our urge to play as much as our conditioning to work.

I’ll take my balloon ride seriously. You take your trip to Graceland/trying every ice cream brand’s Rum Raisin/going to swing dance once a week/making a scavenger hunt in your city seriously. And let’s both support others to do the same.

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