And we are at Week Five! Woot! Woot!
Theme: Be Serious about Play
Be serious about play? No problem. The weeks were flying by and as the primary tasks kept getting easier, the previous tasks kept adding on. But in the midst of one of the craziest work week in life, I’m glad this week’s tasks made me focus on fun and play and maybe not take things so seriously.
Find more fun
What did this mean? Simply what it said. I was on a mission to consciously and intentionally seek out things I found fun. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Try it. Find things to do that are fun (that are not illegal and damaging to persons and property). So that’s what I did. I worked a little more on my Happy Book. I looked for funny pictures and comics in the newspaper, walked downtown Toronto and enjoyed the now. I went to thrift stores and looked at vintage purses. But somehow I felt like something was missing. Maybe I had to do something fun that I hadn’t done in so long that I’d forgotten how much fun it really was. I loved reading and I thought back to my childhood of what I found fun. As a kid, I absolutely LOVED reading books by Enid Blyton, an English author of children’s books. After dealing with the nagging task of settling my library fines, I went to the children’s section and found a book with three adventure stories from the Famous Five series. And I was right, I truly had forgotten how much fun reading these books were to me. I was happy that I had found my way back to fun from the past and also to learn that some things never change.
Take time to be silly
I found that one of the biggest obstacles to my happiness was that I took things far too seriously. I was always tensed up trying to put up defenses for a situation where I felt something would inevitably go wrong. This was specially true at work. My stress level went higher when a patient came in late and the next one was already in, or when I had to deal with a difficult patient on the phone while my boss is trying to reach me on the other line. I had to remind myself that I did not have to get everything done all at once. I wasn’t even expected to get everything done all at once. In fact, I actually would get more done if I stopped and took a chill pill once in a while. And taking time to be silly was a quite a fun chill pill. I made silly knock-knock jokes with my coworkers who groaned and told me stop but laughed nonetheless, I looked up odd stories on the internet so I could share them and have a laugh with my patients and my boss and when all else failed I put on an Indian accent to get a smile. We know all the Indian accent never fails the silliness test.
Go off the path:
This is the one thing about life in general that I find very hard. I love set routines. In fact, routines make me happy. Maybe because they are predictable and comfortable and involve very little room for change. But this week, I had to force myself to get off the path. So instead of going to the gym, I walked 20 minutes to check out that gigantic dollar store. Now I knew where I could buy art supplies for my Happy Book and find my favorite candy for a bad day. I stayed at friend’s place over the weekend until late Sunday evening, even though Sundays were exclusively meant for grocery shopping, cooking for the week and laundry. So stuck I was in my routines that taking a little extra time out of my routine to spend it with my friends actually made me antsy. Did I really enjoy those chores so much that I was itching to go home and do them instead of spending it with friends? The realisation made me uncomfortable. Regardless, I went off the path and stayed and you know what? I came home late Sunday evening and managed to get most of my chores done anyway. Get off the path. Its fun. And fun is a significant cause of happiness.
If its one thing I learnt from this week was that life is not an emergency. Things work out without forcing them to. I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading Famous Five and it was okay to spend time doing that instead of crossing something off my nagging list. But what I found also was that I had to be Karen. I had to be true to what brought me happiness and what didn’t. This struck me when I decided to “go off the path” when I was at the library looking for Enid Blyton’s books. I took some more time to browse other sections and found books on the history of ancient civilizations. I hated history when I was in school and yet when I saw a book on the Indus Valley Civilization, I pulled it out and took it home. I read the book cover to cover and was surprised to learn I enjoyed it. And while I knew that this wasn’t most people’s idea of a good time, I loved it. Be Karen. An important lesson in finding happiness.
Also, never underestimate the power of a silly knock-knock joke.
Happiness-O-Meter for Week 5: 7/10
Until next week…stay happy and take time to not only be silly but thoroughly enjoy also being so!