It’s Fun to Have Fun
By Galia Barhava-Monteith
Gosh, it’s busy out there. We seem to be flat out and somewhat breathless so when we were approached by a well known wine company to explore the topic of fun on the Professionelle site, I was delighted – no better time to talk about fun than when you are really, really busy I say!
Time for Fun?
Let’s be honest, professional women and having fun are two concepts that don’t exactly roll off the tongue. When I hear of a professional woman, the image I conjure up is one of an articulate, smart, successful and ambitious woman. ‘Fun’ doesn’t exactly come into it, but hard working definitely is a key feature. The professional women I know are dedicated and, yes, extremely professional. When you ask them to do something they will most certainly do it; they take care of everyone around them; they are reliable and trustworthy. But fun? Who has time for fun?
What is it about having fun that is so elusive for many of us, serious, intelligent professional women? The great philosopher, Dr Seuss, phrased this conundrum much better than I will ever be able to at the end of one of my all-time favourite meditations on having fun in The Cat in the Hat:
It’s fun to have fun but you have to know how!
What is Fun?
Like many things in life, it is much easier to articulate what fun is NOT. It is not about work-life balance or relaxation techniques. It is not about taking care of yourself (although this is an element of it). And it is not necessarily about ‘partying’. So I went exploring in the dictionary:
- Something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.
- Enjoyment or playfulness: She’s full of fun.
So for those who are organised and focused, how do you schedule or plan for mirth or amusement? How do you organise playfulness?
Fun is so elusive. It’s about letting yourself go, being in the moment and being able to potentially make a fool of yourself in the process. Having fun involves taking risks – a bit like telling a good joke. If it succeeds, everyone laughs, but if it fails you can end up looking like an idiot.
Is it a wonder then, that we professional women who have trained ourselves, and have been trained by others, to be in control, to carefully manage both our image and our interactions, find it difficult to ‘let loose’?
How Do We Have Fun?
It took me many years to really understand the important part social drinking plays in the New Zealand psyche. Having been brought up in a completely different cultural context, I didn’t really understand the role alcohol plays in helping Kiwis let loose.
Consequently, I have to admit I was quite judgmental about social drinking in those early days, but I do now understand that alcohol certainly helps people to have fun. But alcohol has to be just a part of it (I can hear some of you say that it is a BIG part!). What are the other key elements that make having fun possible?
At times when everyone seems to be crazy busy, having fun has to become a priority – but how do you achieve fun if you can’t schedule for it? You schedule and create opportunities to hang out with great friends with whom you feel safe, with whom you can make a fool of yourself and who won’t judge you, answers the positive psychologist.
It’s all about relationships. To be able to let go, to be able to take risks and be in the moment, we have to feel safe. That’s why relationships and friendships are so important to us. With my kids, I now know that taking the time to be in the moment with them and hang out is when we have fun together and I make sure we have these opportunities. It certainly isn’t fun when I am in the supermarket, fielding questions from clients on the phone while arguing with the kids about which cereal they can have!
With our partners, as life gets busy, it isn’t fun when all we do is coordinate schedules and do chores. So now I plan dates and trips away with my husband so that we can just hang out and create the time and the space to have fun. At first it did feel a bit awkward but without the time to really be with each other, how can we have fun together?
Friendship of course, I couldn’t write about letting our figurative hair down and having fun without a special mention of the ‘girls’. Those mythological creatures in any woman’s life who are immortalised in TV programmes like ‘Sex in the City’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’. Having fun with the girls, well, there really isn’t anything like it.
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Ready to find out more?
If you would like to find out more about Professionelle and how we might benefit you or your organisation, please contact our Director, Jayne Chater on firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 779 967.