It was just a few degrees shy of swimming weather a few weeks ago at the beach. I walked along the shore in my jeans and a red tankini top, the salt air refreshing against my skin but not quite cold. My two sisters and some friends and I were taking a brief hike down the beach. Up ahead, a small freshwater creek came out of the pine forest along the beach and cut across our path. The water of the creek was a ribbon of earthy red crossing the white sandy beach. As we approached, I said to my sister Audra, "let's jump it!" It was a shallow creek, and only about seven feet wide, easily fordable. But something within me wanted to run, to leap, to risk splashing down in the cold water. Carefully wading across just wasn't going to do it for me. I wanted to jump the creek ? for no reason other than the fun of it.
My sister enthusiastically agreed, so we got a running start and began to run willy-nilly down the beach, our feet pounding down into the soft, powdery sand. The narrow creek approached rapidly, the wind in my face urging me along, my hair flying about, and when we reached the sandy edges leading down into the creek, we hurdled through the air as if jumping the Grand Canyon. I landed just short of the other side, sending diamond drops of water spraying all around me and soaking the cuff of my jeans. My sister landed right beside me and we laughed like children. It was fun. I felt happy and alive.
The 14th Dalai Lama said, "The purpose of our lives is to be happy." Indeed. This purpose I gladly share with all fellow humans. As you go about your day, do you find yourself caught up in happiness, laughter and fun? As children, everything we did was for fun. That was the purpose behind every action. That was the part of me that had to leap across the creek. As you complete your daily duties - going to work, doing the laundry, checking your email, whatever your daily habits may be ? is fun your purpose? Is happiness your objective?
When you were younger, the pursuit of fun and happiness came naturally. You didn't have to put a lot of effort into looking for it. If your mother had asked you, "So dear, are you going to try to have fun today?" you would have looked at her like she was crazy. Fun is a child's obvious objective. If they want to build a castle, they have fun doing it. If they want to plant some flowers, they have a blast in the process. Mud pies ? fun. Washing the dog ? fun. At some point our priorities change. Our purpose and objective often becomes money and work. The obvious and natural engagement in fun activities falls to the wayside.
When I'm taking myself too seriously, writing at the computer or something, my son always reminds me of my priorities. He'll come up to me and say, "Let's play tigers!" and we'll wrestle on the floor, growling and meowing. Or he'll run up to me and say, "Look, a rainbow!" and point to the refracted light coming from the sunlight shining through some glass. Being an adult doesn't mean abandoning the quest for fun. If life is not meant for fun and happiness, what is it meant for?
Think about the things you might have done as a child. Did you climb trees, ride bicycles, eat ice cream and (purposefully of course) get it all over your face? Did you run uphill and pick flowers and play in the hose because you wanted any excuse to get muddy and wet? What do you do now for fun? As an adult you have more freedom, not less, than as a child. You've got a car and money and no curfew or confined play areas. Your play should be increased, not decreased!
I'm not suggesting that you quit your job and play in the sandbox all day. What I am suggesting is that you quit working and start playing. Children find the fun in almost anything. It's all a state of mind. You can choose to view life as fun, or you can choose not to. Have fun at your job, have fun completing tasks, have fun brushing your teeth, have fun eating. Do also increase the purposeful acts of fun in your life. Go on a spontaneous lunch picnic. Go for a hike in the woods. Take a road trip to the country for a couple hours. Drive down to the beach. And be spontaneous and adventurous. When something silly strikes you, go for it! What's the worst that could happen?
Have fun with your life. Break up your daily routine with intentional acts of fun. Laugh really loud. Take a leap!
Copyright 2005, Alexia Alderson Chamberlynn
Alexia Alderson Chamberlynn is the Co-Owner of Prosperity Power Training, LLC, a national training company specializing in e-learning, life coaching and live group training. To contact Alexia or sign up for free services such as a Free 7-Day Training Program, free monthly newsletter and free quote-of-the-day club, visit the website at http://www.prosperitypowertraining.com. Alexia expects to release her first novel in 2005. Alexia lives in Florida with her son Gareth.