The expectations about New Year’s Eve seem analogous to expectations about all the resolutions made for the new year. The hype may not necessarily match the reality. These days, activities focused on capturing the images of having fun and showing the world how much fun is being had appear to far outweigh the actual fun being had.
Last week, Karen Heller wrote an article in The Washington Post titled “Fun is Dead.” She writes, “Fun is often emphatic, exhausting, scheduled, pigeonholed, hyped, forced, and performative. Adults assiduously record themselves appearing to have something masquerading as “fun,” . . . Look at me having so much FUN!”
There are now podcasts on how to have more fun, fun workshops, apps to track happiness, and even fun coaches. The age-old family fun activity of holiday decorating has been replaced by many who spend thousands of dollars on professional holiday decorators. New restaurants have Instagramable walls, making it easier to show the world where you are having dinner and harder to focus on just enjoying your dinner with family and friends. Alyssa Alvarez, who was interviewed for the article, noted that “I feel like I should be having more fun than I’m actually having. There are expectations of what I want people to believe that my life is like than what my life is actually like."
Ms. Heller poses a lot of possible explanations for the decline in fun these days. Social media may play a role in that we are all tied to our phones, which takes away time we used to spend actually connecting with people. Another theory is that our culture “values work, productivity, power, wealth, status, and more work over leisure.”
Whatever the reason, I don’t believe that fun is dead. It may be on a short hiatus while we figure out how to navigate this technological era. The pandemic years certainly didn’t help. I think we’ll figure it out. One of my resolutions for the new year is to make more space for leisure activities. Focusing on connecting with those around me rather than taking the best photo can only help.
Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2024!
Take care and stay safe.
Arnold’s Pump Club
In this daily podcast by Arnold Schwarzenegger, he shares 3 tips from his daily newsletter each day, and in just 5 minutes, you'll have the support, information, and inspiration you need to live a healthier life. This daily digest helps make sense of the research that matters, shares workouts and healthy recipes, and delivers motivation straight from Arnold. It's the perfect way to get your mind right; because where the mind goes, the body follows.