Want to Be Happy? Make Time for Fun.

Want to Be Happy? Make Time for Fun.
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Hi, guys, I'm back! Did you miss me? No need to answer that - of course you did! Maybe it's my witty self-deprecation, maybe it's because I'm so relatable and adorable, or maybe it's because you 're really interested in learning about health and happiness. In any event, I know you've missed me, so I'll leave it at that. What better way to return from my hiatus than by focusing on everyone's favorite topic: FUN! Last week, I returned to work from a short but blissful vacation in sunny San Diego, so, naturally, I had the post-vacation blues. Ordinarily, I would allow myself to wallow in pity and sulk around like a little brat, but then I remembered that I was keeping a health and happiness blog for a reason, so I forced myself to not be a total jackass.

The best way to not be a jackass, in my opinion, is to have fun. Originally, I considered titling this post "Want to Be Happy? Make Time for Play." But upon further reflection, "make time for play" sounded like a load of new-age hippie bullshit. Also, I was pretty terrified that excessive Google searching for "playtime" would alert the child abuse authorities and/or the wildly insane Chris Hansen of To Catch a Predator.

Having fun makes us feel happy, improves our mental health, and makes us look cool, or at least that's what the research says. With that in mind, I decided to devote a week to fun: each day, I would do at least one activity that I thought was fun for the pure sake of having fun.

My Week of Fun

Day 1 

Today was Monday and my first day back to work after vacation. Because I am a lazy and entitled Millennial, I spend a good 15 minutes sulking at my desk. Then, I remind myself that I get to devote my entire evening to fun activities so I eventually perk up. I also buy myself a cookie, which makes me feel better. I am beginning to wonder if I can just turn my "week of fun" into "week of eating cookies." Undecided at the moment. Will report back later.

During the day, I notice that my calves are tight and sore. This is not unusual for someone who suffers from the medically serious conditions of flat feet, bunions, and pigeon-toedness. So, after my work day, I decide to treat myself to a massage. I enter the no-frills Asian massage parlor near my office and ask for a 20 minute leg and foot massage. I am led through corridors of curtained-off rooms, a makeshift kitchen, and then a narrow stairway, culminating in a dark basement filled with more curtained-off rooms. You may be wondering if getting a foot massage constitutes "fun," but you're forgetting about the "happy ending" that I'm most likely going to get.

The massage was certainly relaxing, which in my book, counts as fun. I distinctively remember smiling as my masseuse's  petite hands rubbed the knots out of my skinny, underdeveloped calves. Relaxing + smiling = fun.

Post-massage, I decide to go shopping for plants. My first stop is a bougie specialty plant store in Brooklyn, where I am half-heartedly greeted by a mustachioed hipster who looks like he has just expended his daily quota of energy by saying "welcome" to me. Reminding myself that I'm here to have fun, I begin asking him semi-ridiculous questions like, "what is the bouquet of this plant?" (there's literally no such thing) and "do you think this plant makes me look fat?" After sufficiently annoying him and suffering from sticker shock ($150 for a table plant, my ass!), I head to the commoner's store for plant shopping - Home Depot. While it wasn't nearly as fun to navigate an underground industrial warehouse as it was to pretend that I was a drunk person shopping for overpriced hipster plants, I did get to witness a newlywed couple frantically arguing the merits of beige vs. ivory bathroom tiles.

Day 2

On Tuesday evening, Max and I go on what I can only describe as a "blind [friend] date" - the two of us meet a complete stranger for drinks with the hope that we will become friends. I should tell you the back story behind our friend date, but it's funnier if you think that my boyfriend and I sign up for blind group dates on Craigslist instead.

Oftentimes, I am wary of new people I meet. Mostly because I am an asshole, but also because I already have some really fantastic friends! However, in the vein of having fun, I allow myself to go on this group friend date, hoping that it doesn't end in some awkwardly romantic group tryst. After spending a few hours imbibing alcoholic liquids in a purely platonic fashion, Max and I depart feeling like we have made a new friend. Our date confirms the next day that he is, in fact, our new friend and would like to see us again. Talk about fun!

Day 3

Today I have to run a few work-related errands in Union Square, so I decide to sneak in some fun afterwards. I visit the Union Square farmer's market and pick out some adorable tiny raspberries, some purple lettuce, and the sweetest peaches you'll taste outside of Georgia.

I sense that you are judging my taste in fun, but if you know me at all, you should know that shopping for food is SO MUCH FUN for me.

make time for fun

Day 4

I love to dance. Every time I go to a wedding (rare) or a nightclub (even rarer), I remember how much I love dancing. It's pure unadulterated fun, unless a perv starts trying to freak nasty you from behind. Then, it's adulterated fun, and this is why women invented the Buddy System.

make time for fun

So I return from work and instead of parking my bum on the couch or opening a bottle of wine, I turn on my favorite jams (90s hip hop with a little bit of early 2000s hip hop sprinkled in) and proceed to dance the hell out of every bone in my body. I do the running man, the booty pop, the roger rabbit, the wop, you name it.

Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think "hot damn, you look ridiculous" or "is that boob sweat?" But then I remember that I am having so much fun, so I just put my hands in the air and wave 'em around like I just don't care.

make time for fun

If you enjoy dancing, I highly recommend getting your roommate/partner out of the house, cranking up your favorite jams, and just wildin' out by yourself. Let loose! Look like an idiot! It's truly fun. I promise.

Day 5

Today is Friday, and Fridays are always fun because they signal the end of the workweek, at least for most of us. Back when I worked in BigLaw, I used to greet my colleagues with a cheery "Happy Friday" only to receive somber greetings in return (i.e., "Ugh, shut up. Every day is the same here." or "I guess? I'll be working all weekend.")

But now that I've escaped this horror show, I get as excited about Fridays as I imagine the staff at TGI Fridays does. Today, Max and I invite some friends over for a Mediterranean dinner in our garden. The wine flows liberally, the spicy hummus and falafel are exquisite, and I am as happy as can be.

Day 6

As I alluded to above, now that I have a social life, my weekends almost always consist of at least one fun activity. Sorry to rub it in if you have a crappy BigLaw job where you work weekends. Actually, I'm not that sorry. Get a new job!

Today we head to the Hudson River in Manhattan to enjoy the beautiful muggy summer day. We share a few bottles of rosé wine at an overly trendy, overly expensive waterfront bar populated by very tan (read: orange) women in Bebe dresses and men in pinstripe button-downs. This is not exactly my scene, but I really can't complain about drinking rosé on a rooftop. We talk to the few normals at the bar and then gaze at the incredibly beautiful sunset. I return home drunk, scarf down multiple bread products, and feel very happy and fuzzy inside. make time for fun

Day 7

New Jersey is often described as "The Armpit of America," and I'm not here to disagree. However, your money will stretch you a lot further in New Jersey than in New York City. My sister and brother-in-law recently moved to New Jersey, which means I get to enjoy the perks of New Jersey's cost of living without actually having to live in this sweaty armpit. Sorry, sis. They live in a luxury building equipped with a beautiful swimming pool, brand new electric grills and outdoor seating, and my absolute favorite - a cornhole setup.

On a perfect sunny day, we grill up some lunch, drink some boozy sangria, and bask in the sunshine at the pool. I had been promised that there would be sightings of real-life Donald Trump fans wearing "Make America Great Again" hats (this is New Jersey, after all), but alas, none of these mythical creatures show up today and so I am forced to keep my highly-opinionated-always-correct mouth shut. It's not the end of the world, though, because I have so much fun showing off my Michael Phelps' moves and lapping everyone in the pool.

make time for fun

Lessons Learned

I had a kickass week. Having fun is really the tits.

In all seriousness, as a working professional, I recognize that I don't always make time for fun during the week. Even though I'm not slaving away at a corporate law firm and eating dinner at my desk every night, it's easy for me to fall into weekday routines that aren't necessarily "fun" (i.e., eating dinner while reading the news or watching yet another sad documentary). So, from now on, I vow to make more time for fun during the week. Doing so, I think, will help me (1) not feel like I perform the same boring routine every week and (2) help me get over the serious case of FOMO I have.

As soon as the weekend begins, I develop a strong urge to do everything fun that is humanly possible and at lightning speed. I want to spend exactly zero hours at home, and I want to spend the next 48-60 hours doing at least 10 exciting activities. This neurosis obviously drives others mad, especially my friend Lucy who just wants to chill and watch Law & Order: SVU marathons. Hopefully, making time for fun during the week will calm my voracious appetite for weekend fun and mitigate my FOMO.

Anyone else suffer from routine FOMO? How do you deal? Please shoot me an email or comment!

With lots of love and fun,

Nisha