This concept presents itself in many ways. The saying “life is short, eat dessert first” is one way. But, aside from that, building fun into “the plan” is one benefit of operating a small business. While we’ve written things along these lines in the past, recent discussions with family and friends are reminders of the importance of remembering to insert fun into life. We do, when we travel, by including, when possible, an extra day on the front or back end of a trip. Work in New York City on the horizon? How about a baseball game? Working in Tampa? How about dinner at The Columbia? I hope everyone does this, even when not traveling, but I’m not so sure. Finding a few minutes or hours to add in something fun is not something about which to feel guilty. Recent reminders of the brevity of life such as the illness of a family member or friend have reinforced the need to enjoy life while you can. Do it while you are mobile, healthy, and otherwise able – have fun, without the guilt. Hard work is all well and good, but to what end if fun is not involved? It doesn’t have to be major fun, but even a few minutes, hours or days here and there will serve to recharge and refresh, and importantly, reward. My Mom still says “have fun” almost every time I talk with her. For years, I interpreted her comment differently than I now think it was intended. She would often say this when Melissa and I were in town to work or meet with clients; as nice as some of them are, this is work, not fun, yet she persisted. Now I think she was trying to teach us to enjoy what we are doing and to find the fun in each endeavor. It may not always be possible, but using fun as an objective helps keep life positive. Take it while you can get it!
I can’t begin to count the number of times David’s mother, Carole, said, “Have fun!” when David and I were leaving her house to meet with a prospective client (the opposite of having fun, in my opinion); conducting mock jury research (very stressful and hard work, involving long hours); selecting a jury (the ultimate stressful and demanding task among all the work I perform); making a speech or presentation to a large audience (not difficult, but still not much fun); driving back to south Florida after spending time in Jacksonville (boring, as opposed to fun); etc. Until recently, neither David nor I “got it,” that is, we failed to understand what Carole meant by her persistent and frequent admonishments for us to have fun when embarking on an outing that, in our view, was anything but fun. Finally, after all these years of hearing “Have fun,” we finally understood what Carole meant: Have fun when you can. Have as much fun as you can doing whatever you have to do. Bloom where you are planted. Make some lemonade out of those sour lemons. Smile! The last time I visited with Carole, who is now in the advanced stages of dementia, she smiled at me as I was preparing to leave and said, “Have fun!” Instead of wondering how in the world I was going to have fun that day, or for that matter, any time in the near future (given why David and I were in Jacksonville on this particular visit), I said, “I am planning on it. You have fun too!” Sometimes, all it takes is a new perspective on life to show us that we have been missing the point all along. Have fun!