Times are always hard, somewhere. But now, in case you haven’t noticed, it seems that times are exceptionally hard, almost everywhere. Horror after horror in Japan, in the Arab world, in Israel. Anger, maybe even fury in the streets, in the halls of government in Wisconsin and Indiana. Pick up a newspaper, turn on the radio, the TV, your very personal computer, your smart phone. We are awash in tsunamis of fear, anguish, anger.
So, what about fun?
Clearly, this isn’t it. None of it. Maybe if we are doing something about it, if we are on some emergency medical team, or helping people to find people, or semi-safe in the middle of some huge protest, maybe then it would feel better, maybe we would feel better, maybe it’d feel like something almost like fun. It’s this sense of helplessness, powerlessness, that makes things feel so far from anything like fun.
Lucky for us, there are people who are experts in helplessness and powerlessness. And they are all around us, often under our very feet. Kids. And these are the very people who beckon us back from our own personal fear and grief, who don’t just ask, but, in their own childish way, just about force us to play. They make us crawl, roll on the floor, throw blankets over our heads, they make us make fools of ourselves, and the only thing they have to pay us back with is their laughter. And that’s enough.
There are other people in our world who are almost as good at beckoning us back to fun – people who are good at being funny or who are not too embarrassed to be silly or who have a great laugh. And even animals – especially young animals. Think kittens, puppies. Then there are things of unaccountable beauty – flowers, trees, birds, sunsets, moonlight – that even in the hardest of hard times can touch us deeply enough to bring us back to life, and from there, to joy, which, from there, is a short hop, skip and/or jump to fun.
Fun is life. Life is fun. Even in hard times. If there’s something you can do to help, to get actively involved, go for it. By any means. In the mean time, maybe it’s a good idea not to watch the news so much. Spend more time with family, neighbors, colleagues. Take walks. Listen to the birds. Go to playgrounds. Watch kids.
And then maybe, when you’re ready, when you feel strong enough to set the hard things aside for a moment or two, you can try a game, even, like: