If you’re a regular reader here (of course that implies regular content, which is not always the case, but still you know what I mean, I hope), you know that I’ve spent the past year or so trying to eradicate the word “busy” from my vocabulary (if you’re not a regular reader, see here, here, and here).
The past two weeks have been particularly challenging as the beginning of the semester is, by any standard, objectively quite hectic (or busy) — and I have the distinct sense that by NOT answering the question, “How are things? Busy?” with “yes,” I’m perceived as a slacker (because otherwise I would of course be busy at this time of the year). Still, I am trying to avoid playing the “who’s busier” game and also trying to remember to include time for fun. I was reminded of the importance of fun this past Friday. After checking out the goings-ons at KC Ballet’s new home, we headed to the R Bar (a super fun local place that you should check out if you haven’t been) to hear some live music. Sitting at the bar, I found myself next to a couple in their 50s or so. Super chatty, they started asking me questions about who was playing (which I was actually able to answer, since I knew the musicians), and then continued to chat with me as the night went on. I learned that they like to frequent Houlihan’s, Long Island Iced Teas, and dancing. They proved the latter by being the only ones in the bar to get up and dance to the second band.
Why I am telling you this, you may ask? Because that couple was so full of pure joy and fun that they made my evening better. I spend my days working in higher education, which is disproportionately populated with workaholics for whom “fun” can be a dirty word (see Karen Kelsky’s post “Death of a Soul on Campus” for a good description. I should note here that I have been lucky enough at UMKC to find the fun folks, but even they sometimes choose work more often than fun. I include myself in this group). So it was nice to find myself this past Friday with people who knew how to have fun — and who reminded me how important it is. After all, I work better when I remember to take breaks and find the time for fun. In student affairs, we talk often about balance, but I think we sometimes forget that balance doesn’t just mean finding time for family (which, let’s face it, can be another form of work sometimes), but that it can also mean finding time for ourselves to experience joy. As the semester pace continues to ramp up, I challenge myself and you to remember that and to make time for fun. We’ll all be better off for it.