Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Have You Found Your Bliss?
My husband and I try to introduce our children to as many activities as we can locally find. So far our daughter has enrolled in Karate, soccer, cooking lessons and a short theater course. We take them along to play golf, swim at the YMCA pool, and do arts and crafts at the farmer's market.
It is not our intention to discover a hidden talent that will make them stand out from others. We want to let them discover an activity for themselves that they will enjoy doing, perhaps throughout their lives.
Past studies have shown that active people - people who keep themselves busy - are happier than those that are not, and find more enjoyment in everyday living in general.
But how should you keep yourself busy? What should you do with yourself? The problem for some of us grown up folks lies in our belief that "idle hands are the Devil's workshop." It is right to a point, but it's usually taken to mean that we should be busy with work - with something useful. Perhaps a better proverb for today's way too hectic life would be "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!"
Not having something fun to escape to when one is stressed, mentally overworked, bored,or as a way to reward oneself, has a depressing affect on people. It makes them listless and clouds their general outlook on life. ( And they are no fun to be around.)
Having something you love to do also gives you a great tool you can use when you are tempted to break your diet with that cookie, or smoke a cigarette when you are trying to quit. Instead of giving in, walk away and do the thing you love! It's a terrific distraction.
There are many adults who, for as many reasons, have never discovered what they might do for the sheer joy of doing it. Sadly, many are of the opinion that any undertaking without a productive result is simply a waste of time. Some of this is due to parental or cultural influence, some to personal ambition ("I simply have more important things to do.")
Doing my own little survey for this post among family and friends, I have discovered a wide variety of activities people engage in for the sole purpose of having fun. Retirees often have great success in finding a fulfilling hobby. They have plenty of time to check things out, and there is no longer a struggle with guilt about doing something more productive.
I was, however, pleasantly surprised to find that many of the people working 40+ hour weeks still had found their own little pleasures "just to get away from it all." They hook rugs, play games on the computer, knit, paint pictures by the numbers, do intricate picture puzzles; two had taken an evening class to learn how to play the guitar and someone else had taken a class to make mosaic art.
Cross word puzzles had several enthusiasts and one working mom was a whittler with great passion. Her Grandpa had been a whittler and in her youth she would sit with him in the old barn where he would tell her stories of the magical creatures he had met in the woods while looking for just the right fallen branches. Sometimes they would leave him just what he needed on the old tree stump, where they knew he always rested for a spell.
I was so charmed by this story that I seriously thought of taking up whittling, just for a minute or two.
All this of course is to inspire you so that if you don't already have "it", you will go and get "it." It's never too late and it needn't cost much. There are many How To... websites on the internet, reasonable prices for evening classes in the local high school, and the library is an absolute treasure for books on crafts.
When you give some thought to what you might like to pursue, something may come to mind that you were always a little curious about. Maybe you even have an acquaintance whose hobby you had found interesting. If it requires a specific skill, perhaps they'll show you how it's done.
Do it! Have fun! Having fun is very important to a well balanced life - happiness and wellness go hand in hand. The only rule is that there be no judgment of "value" on the type of activity you choose, and that the joy be purely in the doing of it! Let your whimsy be your guide.