Did you have fun in 2011? When I ask my friends this question I get queer looks and sometimes a giggle as though I must be joking.
“We are adults,” I can almost hear them think. “Fun is not part of the equation.”
But it should be.
I have come to believe that the importance of having fun is underestimated. I have come to believe that fun may indeed be the key to a happy life. I decided this by watching my 5-year-old son and his three best friends as they run through my house, going from one activity to the next with absolutely no care in the world except where they’ll find the next bit of fun.
Yes, I realize we are all adults. I understand there are going to be worries in our lives. There are responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean there is not room for fun in our lives as well.
I have realized that my friends and I have managed to take the fun out of our training. It’s ironic, because many of us took up running and triathlon because we wanted to add some fun to our lives, but we have turned the simple pleasures of running, biking and swimming that we enjoyed as children into a science. These days our runs are about the pace, the mileage, the heart rate or the number of calories we have burned.
Last year, my New Year’s resolution was to become a more social athlete. I started the very first day of the year with an informal run with friends and I continued by being more active in my running and triathlon clubs, running and biking with some of my readers, and even meeting one of my Twitter friends in Central Park on a day trip to New York City for a run. I had a great year in my sport.
This year, I want to add to the social aspect. I want to take my social running and add a dash of fun to each workout. I want to think less about the science of training and more about the joy that fitness has brought me.
I started this resolution pre-Christmas with a Christmas lights run with friends. I will spend New Year’s Day with another set of friends on a destination run to Downtown Annapolis. But I will also continue the fun throughout the year by adding non-training fun to my routine.
This year I will visit more batting cages, more ice rinks and more . I will add fun to long runs by keeping running tallies of what I see along the way: how many people on bikes, how many bridges I cross and how many lax bros on skateboards with goatees.
This year my resolution is to be more like my 5-year-old son and less like the 40-something mom who takes herself too seriously that I have become.