ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?
Ben Aitken wasn’t. Increasingly flat and decreasingly zen, he knew that something had to change. So he joined a lawn bowls club. About a week later, he continued his assault on the doldrums by taking a cheerleading class. Then – with an almost entirely reformed selfhood winking appealingly on the horizon- he went cold-water swimming and was back to square one.
Despite the inevitable setbacks and missteps, it was becoming clear to Aitken that the very pursuit of fun was a great route to feeling less naff. And so he made a vow to go after the f-stuff with as much gusto as he could muster. (Starting with the crossword.)
Over the next year, he filled his calendar with a plethora of potentially pleasurable pursuits. He did things he’d never done before but reckoned could be fun (a pilgrimage in Spain, afternoon bingo); things whose fun-factor was less obvious and more down-to-earth (volunteering in a charity shop, sitting on a bench); and things he wasn’t at all sure about but were fun according to other people (improv, wakeboarding, learning Welsh).
Although the results were mixed, the author’s year of making merry left him feeling undoubtedly … better. Which invites the question: if fun is such a reliable mood-swinger, shouldn’t we be having more of it?