crazy fun

have more fun pillow fight - crazy fun

A couple of days ago, I asked my friend Chad if he was still keeping up with his one-second-a-day video compilations. It’s an app that prompts you to take daily videos, and then to string one-second clips together into a montage. It’s really something, what you can tell about a person’s life and times in seeing just one second a day.

Anyway, Chad said that, yes, in fact he is keeping up with them and has been for about two full years now. He sent me his one-second-a-day montage from his summer of travel with his wife, Kate (a video that came in at under two minutes long). What I saw intermixed with more serene moments or breathtaking scenery was lots of smiles, raucous laughter, belly flops onto beds, practical jokes.

I suggested to Chad that he should use these short videos in some of his presentations, simply showing the video and then asking people: “Never mind for now what you just saw in those out-of-context moments. What did you feel while watching that video?”

Chad thought this was a good idea. But in typical Chad form, he turned my own question on me: “What did you feel while watching it, Erik?”

I told him that I felt “uplifted, curious, like I wanted to be there.” But in that moment, I also had an unexpected yet important personal revelation:

I’m not fun.

Actually, that’s not accurate. I am fun. I know how to have fun. I love to have fun. I’m just not having fun.

No, that’s not quite it, either. I’m having fun – I’m just not having a certain kind of fun.

Crazy fun.

I’ll see if I can explain.

I enjoy my life. I’m never bored.

Just recently, I had a certain kind of “fun” on a wonderful vacation. I had plenty of time to read (fantasy, my relaxation genre) and eat tangy lime pops and see some good movies. And I would not be lying to say I had “fun” doing these things. But it was “solitary fun,” and that’s a different kind of fun than what I mean.

I certainly ventured out and talked with people. I had some really cool interactions. I got to speak with people in three different languages other than my native language; and that is “fun” for me. It’s a challenge and it excites me. But it’s not quite what I mean by “fun” today.

In fact, much of my life is about choices to engage with the world in ways that I really do enjoy. In a very real sense, having deep conversations is “fun” for me. Solving problems is “fun.” Even right now, as I write, I’m enjoying myself. It’s “fun.” But again, my epiphany of a few days ago concerned a different kind of fun than these things.

I’m talking about crazy fun. Tear-inducing fun. Adrenaline-pumping fun. Milk-out-the-nose kind of fun. Cheeks-feeling-like-you-blew-up-too-many-balloons kind of fun.

I’m a creative guy. And not much if anything embarrasses me. So I’m pretty darned comfortable being silly. I wrote in The Best Advice So Far (and in a prior post) about times when I’ve laughed myself right into a near conniption, crumpled in a useless heap on the floor. Those times have been many.

I’m the type who can take a practical joke to the extreme, enjoying the plotting as much as the elaborate execution.

I love having inside jokes with a friend over the most ridiculous of things, and then getting each other going, mounting on the ridiculousness until we’re both howling or neither of us can speak at all.

I’m the type to drive to the beach in the middle of a wild downpour and just run around getting soaked.

I’m usually the first to pose (or take) the dare, with brazen eyes and a stalwart resolve.

But what I realized this week … is that I haven’t had this kind of silly, crazy fun in a while. Somehow, I’ve let “serious fun” completely replace the childlike kind.

And that’s not good.

Some of you think I’m off my rocker right now. You’re wondering why any adult would feel that silliness, mattress dives, water gun fights, laughing with wild abandon or the like should be done on the regular – or, moreover, why they might actually be important.

All I can tell you is this. I know how I feel when these things are a part of my life. And I can recognize the “something missing” when they are not. I know how awake and alive and creative and connected I feel when I share these kinds of moments with people, as opposed to when I’ve gone too long without.

Need something more scientific? OK. Then I challenge you to run an experiment of your own. Join me in adding some crazy fun back into your life. Collect the data. And then decide for yourself if the additions were worthwhile.

As children, we knew the secrets to joy and laughter and big self-expression – knowledge we tend to forget or leave by the wayside as we get older. But I’ve never been able for the life of me to understand why we would abandon the better parts of ourselves for drudgery or perpetual seriousness. I’ll take this opportunity to say once more, being childlike does not mean being childish or irresponsible.

have more fun tweetable: Being childlike does not mean being childish or irresponsible.

From ancient times, the wise knew that “laughter is the best medicine.” I’m overdue for a good dose of crazy fun. How about you?

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About Erik

Erik is an author, speaker, blogger, facilitator, people lover, creative force, conversationalist, problem solver, chance-taker, noticer and lover of life. He lives in the Boston area. "It's more about writing lives than writing pages." View all posts by Erik

32 responses to “crazy fun

  • Dib

    Kermit’s Closet :))

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ben S

    I have to admit that I’m a bit like aFrankAngle on the topic of ‘crazy fun.’ It’s said that humor doesn’t travel, and I think this is one case where it’s a little too long-distance. Even as a kid I was pretty serious and shy/quiet, and while I sometimes- so people say, at any rate- did silly things, it was generally pretty out of character and a genuine shock. I also tended to feel more silly or embarrassed after it was all done than exhilarated, so perhaps this is medicine that treats a different ailment than what I have, mm?

    Or I suppose that my means of that kind of fun are just different. I’m not one for practical jokes- I only ever did one in my life, though it was kind of mean and I’ve never repeated the experiment- but letting my three-year-old niece shove me around like a professional wrestler? Sure. Teasing friends and family about video/tabletop games and laughing about shared misadventures? Sure! Heck, I’ve even gone from a more ‘serious’ kind of video game streaming idea to a more light-hearted and fun one, and I think it suits me a little better.

    …just not water guns and mattresses and the like! *laughs*

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik

      Hi, Ben. I really appreciate your openness here. And I think you’ve helped me possibly reinterpret Frank’s comment (I added a new reply below).

      You know you. You know what feeds and refills your soul in the right way. I do believe laughter is important. I believe fun is important. I don’t believe some people aren’t meant to need these things or aren’t entitled to them. And who knows the exact balance between nature and nurture here. But what I also believe is that no two people are the same.

      Physically, while I’m in decent shape, I’m not the biggest guy around (5’9″ and 175 lbs). Still, my daily dose of thyroid medication is unusually HIGH, because of my mass/density or whatever. If this is true of physical medicine, I can make the parallel (as I said to Frank in my new comment here) that “just what the doctor ordered” may be different amounts or intensities for different temperaments.

      If you feel “soul light” doing other things than the kind of crazy fun I describe in this post, great! Again, we’re all different. I guess we each just have to be honest with ourselves as to whether we really feel happy, or whether we’ve just learned to settle. No one can answer that question for a person except that person alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ben S

        Of course, it’s also possible that I misread Frank’s comment as well! If so, so it goes sometimes, mm?

        I definitely agree that having fun and laughter are definitely things that everyone needs. Even I do, and my favorite muppets were Stadler and Waldorf! *laughs* But you’re right, what works for someone might not work for someone else, or not as much, or things like that.

        And a very good point about at least asking the question of whether you’ve learned to settle for it, or if you’re truly happy. That is the kind of ingrained thing that happens a lot, and speaking personally, was definitely something I had to question and unlearn. So really, I should thank you for echoing my thoughts, even if our treatments are different!

        Random aside, now that I think about it. This topic kind of reminds me of one of Aesop’s fables, where the exact same dynamic played out. Aesop was playing and having fun, and when the more serious people of the day asked why he was doing it, he pointed out that a string that’s kept taut all the time snaps, whereas if it’s allowed to relax, it’ll last longer. Good mental image, sure, but… it’s also kind of depressing, that we’re dealing with the same situation millennia later.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Erik

          Regarding Aesop being just as applicable today, Ben, I began my book, The Best Advice So Far, this way:

          About 500 years ago, a guy named Nicolaus cleared his throat and announced to the world that the universe does not, in fact, revolve around us. However, eons before Nicolaus dared to speak up, the facts were the facts. It did not matter what important people thought or knew or wanted to believe. The earth has simply never been at the center of the cosmos.

          As dinosaurs tromped around the planet, the principles of flight that now allow several tons of metal to take off and get airborne — were just as true. It just took us a while to figure them out.

          Truth is true, whether we know it yet or not. Truth is true, whether or not we choose to believe it or acknowledge it. Kick and scream all you like. Truth just is. The best any of us can do is to discover it, to better understand it, and to explain it in such a way that others can make some sense of it with us.

          Aesop hit on truth. And so it is not depressing to me that his wisdom still holds true today. It’s to be expected, as I see it.

          AND … I LOVED “The Muppet Show”!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sean P Carlin

            This only barely qualifies as on-topic, but if you’ve seen any of the current billboards/bus advertisements for the new Muppets series premiering on ABC on 9/22, my wife placed all of those ads. (Not to be a corporate shill, mind you — I’m just proud of the job she did, and I’m assured by her that the new series is going to be wonderful!)

            Liked by 1 person

          • Erik

            I haven’t yet, but I’ll be on the lookout! Intrigued …

            Liked by 1 person

  • Sean P Carlin

    For me, the opportunities for “crazy fun” just aren’t as prevalent as they once were, alas, but I can still find myself worked into fits of irrepressible laughter — joy, really — thinking about the ceiling-mounted lighting fixture over my mother’s bed that shattered into a million shards when my best friend and I were pillow-fighting and he went for an overhead deathblow, or when we lit Tiki torches in a Bronx subbasement without first considering the total lack of ventilation down there and inadvertently smoked ourselves out in a mad, teary-eyed dash for the exit! Crazy fun tends to be spontaneous, and obligations — work, family, bills, etc. — are, unfortunately, the antidote to spontaneity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erik

      I love the honesty of this response, Sean. And I’m with you, in that opportunities seem less prevalent. For me, it’s a hazard of my chosen work. I write alone. And my mentoring often involves a focus on deeper conversations or specific goals. So my time with my “crazy fun people” over the years has diminished (much of which even has to do with people moving out of state). But I am determined to stop scheduling things so tightly that I leave no room for that kind of spontaneity. You’re right that you can’t “schedule” crazy fun; but I need to at least allow room for it. I’ll let you know how that goes. Even just being more mindful of it has led to impromptu adventures that at least allowed room for that kind of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sean P Carlin

        There’s absolutely no question that part of the reason I write fiction today is for the purpose of vicariously experiencing the kind of devil-may-care adventure that was so bountiful once upon a time.

        Over Labor Day weekend, I re-watched one of my “perennials” — Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me — and was pleasantly (if wistfully) reminded of the bygone pleasures of endless summer days with my pals, when everything was possible. I’d always hoped we’d grow up and find something to do with our lives together, but… life is more complicated than that, I discovered. That kind of fun becomes more elusive with age. But, there’s no doubt that I do what I do in tribute to the spirit of friendship and good times that defined my adolescence and made me who I am.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Erik

          Definitely a great “perennial” there, Sean.

          Things do change. It gets more challenging, for sure. But I’ve definitely experienced lots of crazy fun as an adult. I’ve just lost track for a little bit. Be on the lookout. I will be. (It was hot enough here in the Boston area today to have warranted finding a Slip ‘n Slide!)

          Liked by 1 person

  • familyrulesbyplainjane

    I have three friends I get together with several times a year for the crazy fun. Absolutely necessary! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Jon Beaty

    Hey, Erik!

    Thinking about what you’ve said here, I think I’ve allowed responsibilities to get in the way of crazy fun. Responsibilities are good when they align with our purpose and add meaning, but there’s a level of engagement and flow that seems to be a part of crazy fun that can’t be achieved any other way. These are as important to wellbeing as purpose and meaning. I think I need to make room for more crazy fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik

      So happy to read this today, Jon! It’s always a big deal to me when someone lets me know that something I wrote sparked a realization that could lead to positive new choices and change. And it’s also nice to know that others are with me in the experiment. Let’s keep each other informed on the next “crazy fun” we get ourselves into!

      Like

  • Kev

    Sounds like great fun! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  • D. Wallace Peach

    I have a 2 year old grandson, so crazy delirious fun is part of my week – ready or not. Crazy fun with my peers is less frequent, but when it happens it’s really…well, FUN!

    I hope you find yourself a little fun, Erik. Borrow someone’s kids, it’s easy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erik

      Yes, kids do help us stay connected to the child still inside each of us, for sure! Even the teens I mentor can do that, when they get going (as a mentor, I’m “borrowing people’s kids” all the time). Again, I’m enjoying my life. Now I just need to bring back some breathless laughter. I’m on it! Thanks, Diana.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Jed Jurchenko

    Great post Erik and you certainly got me thinking!

    First, I felt sad as I thought about how much I miss my days of skydiving, off-roading, spur-of-the-moment, midnight beach trips, and crazy hiking adventures.

    Then I got to thinking how much I love the current days of family water-balloon fights, body-boarding with the kiddo’s, and watching Addison explore everything for the first time.

    It made me realize that my days of crazy fun haven’t vanished. However, they are much different than they used to be. I’m wondering if perhaps crazy fun looks different in different ages and stages of life? It’s funny, there are certainly things I miss about the old, more extreme days of crazy fun in my past. Yet, I would’t give up the mellow, family oriented, days of fun we are having right now, for anything.

    Thanks for a great post, and an awesome reminder of how blessed we are! Wishing you some awesome days of crazy fun in the days ahead. And maybe one day,we’ll be able to meet up for some mellow, crazy fun too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erik

      Yes, Jed, I don’t think what we do for “crazy fun” is all that important. It’s relative to the person. But the result is important. I think we need to have more moments of raucous laughter and living with abandon. And I certainly think that can happen as you help your kids explore fun, often for the first time. Surrounded by kids and being fully engaged, you should not be in any danger of losing touch with your childlike self! In short, I think the lesson is that we shouldn’t get to the point where we are taking things too seriously.

      And I look forward to that “one day” of which you spoke!

      Liked by 1 person

  • aFrankAngle

    I definitely see your point because I like to have fun … but in my way – thus not silly and seldom impractical … thus I don’t just let go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erik

      I think we as adults adapt our kind of fun to be more “acceptable”: fishing, riding a motorcycle, shopping, seeing a movie. But the question is this: “Acceptable to whom?” If laughter really is the best medicine (and I believe it is), then an occasional chuckle is diluted medicine, while the kind of side-splitting laughter that gets the heart rate up is “just what the doctor ordered.” I’ve seen pretty serious adults give in and give this a try – and never go back. My own 71-year-old mother will take and send ridiculous pictures of herself from her phone, or pop in Bubba teeth out at restaurants just to get people laughing (and this from a woman who was very serious during my growing-up years, and with good reason). We knew how as kids. We just have to work at letting ourselves go there again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • aFrankAngle

        Well put … and cheers to your mom!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Erik

          Frank, I’m wondering if I misread your previous comment here and, therefore, may have inadvertently seemed as if I seemed to be saying that a certain kind of fun is “the right way.” I originally took your comment to mean that you wish you could just let go, but aren’t very good at it. But Ben’s more recent comment leaves me wondering if you might have been saying that you’ve just never been the type for whom “crazy fun” was natural or helpful. We each get that “soul refill” in different ways. And while I do believe laughter is important and natural, I also think the “dose the doctor ordered” to do the trick varies by temperament.

          Like

      • Jed Jurchenko

        Hey Erik, If you ever make a book of quotes, you need to put this in it:

        “If laughter really is the best medicine (and I believe it is), then an occasional chuckle is diluted medicine, while the kind of side-splitting laughter that gets the heart rate up is “just what the doctor ordered.”

        Very well said!

        Liked by 1 person

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