Pass the popcorn ― how to have more fun

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It’s crazy, waiting for the universe to knock on the door and offer fulfilment on a platter.  ― Shannyn Steel

If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that nobody is here forever. You have to live for the moment, each and every day . . . the here, the now.”    ― Simone Elkeles

I’ve been marking time. Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for something to change. Waiting to find the thing that would propel me into the joyful, purposeful life I’d hoped for. Toward the end of last year the penny dropped and I suddenly understood what I already knew but wasn’t able to acknowledge. It’s crazy waiting for the universe to knock on the door and offer fulfilment on a platter.

After all that waiting I’ve finally twigged that the trick to this whole fulfilment thing is to get out there and do stuff that I want more of in life. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

A startling discovery, made as a result of this brain wave, is that the one thing I want more of in my life right now is not time, not spiritual connection, not more authentic relationships, though that would be nice too. What I want more of in my life right now is fun. Yes, fun. Now don’t get me wrong. My life is not devoid of enjoyment. There are plenty of things that bring me joy; spotting a flower dewy with raindrops; the smell, texture and colour of soggy leaves on the forest floor after a thunderstorm; the smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of kookaburras laughing from the great pine tree in my neighbour’s yard. Those things and more fill me with joy. I also have many pleasant ways to pass the time that would constitute enjoyment too. Long strolls on the beach, reclining with a good book, baking a batch of cookies for my beloved’s lunch. Those things are enjoyable to me. What I’m after is in a whole different category.

Fun to me is more outrageous than enjoyment. It’s buzzy and exciting and perhaps more “in the moment” rather than a slow burn. Do you see the difference?

I have begun gathering a list of big fun and little fun activities in earnest.  Big fun activities are those that may cost a bit of money and require a little planning like indoor skydiving, parasailing, swinging on a trapeze. Little fun is something that could be undertaken on the spur of the moment, is relatively inexpensive and something that could raise the fun factor on any given day. Such as jumping on a swing in the local park and throwing your head back to drink in the sky.

Maybe you’d like to do the same. As ideas come to mind they could be written on a piece of paper, thrown into a big bowl with the intention of pulling an idea from the ‘popcorn’ bowl to infuse life with fun.  I’m going to experience ‘popcorn’ fun weekly and plan big fun, depending on the scale of it, monthly or quarterly. Oh, and I am going to scheduled those big fun activities to give me something to look forward to and to ensure having more  fun becomes a reality rather than a hope, wish or a dream.

Here are some popcorn fun ideas my friend Margaret, a kid at heart who  hasn’t lost sight of how much fun life can be, shared with me to start filling the bowl. I hope you get some ideas to add to your list.

Build a sandcastle or mermaid on the beach.
Water pistol shooting
Play SNAP (the card game)
Bubble blowing
Slide on a flying fox
Chew bubble gum and pop it.
Watch a funny cartoon
Singing in the shower
Dancing nude under the moon
Walk barefooted to the park
Feed the birds
Read Dr Seuss aloud
Pull weird faces and take pictures to replay
Walk on stilts
Dress up as a chicken
Three legged race
Sand dune sliding on cardboard

Things I’m lovin’ right now

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The way to know life is to love many things.

Vincent Van Gough 

My friend and fellow blogger, Sarah from clevercook, inspired me to consider things I’m loving right now. She often does a post of fab food and cooking ingredients she has discovered.

Book crossing
This is a fun way to pay it forward in a mysterious kind of way. Basically, you leave books in different places for someone else to enjoy. The theory is the book travels from place to place, reader to reader and, if registered, its journey can be followed. I’ve enjoyed sharing my read and loved books this way. It’s always interesting to wonder who will pick them up.

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Paleo and Primal cafes
Ahhh. At last. A place I can eat without looking like a fussy, freaky, foodie. These cafes offer sugar free, dairy free, wheat free meals packed with delicious goodness. I’ve recently visited the Primal Pantry for a sensational breakfast and the Paleo cafe at Paddington for a sumptuous lunch. I’m loving the bone broth.

Geocaching
I’ve been a member now for about four years after being introduced to this fun pastime by my son. It’s a global game akin to treasure hunting.  When I say game it’s not a sport exactly or something you have to do with lots of people, though you can if you want to. It does get you out into the world and visiting some fascinating places. I have found 617 caches hidden in various places from bushland and urban areas around my city, to Tasmaina and the Colosseum in Rome. Its great fun, check it out.

Carol Dweck and mindset
I’m a total groupie. I met, shook hands with, got a photo with her and had her sign my book last week. Carol Dweck is a guru on mindset and I’m enjoying her book and researching mindset.

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New workouts
You’ve got to love change for its reinvigorating properties. I’ve been experimenting lately with heavy weights. I saw a marked increase in my strength over twelve weeks when I incrementally increased the weights I was lifting so I could only do four repetitions. It’s pretty awesome to witness a change like that. For instance, I began pressing 40 kilograms for 12 repetitions and completing 3 sets of these to pressing 120 kilos for three sets of four repetitions each. Leg presses that is, gosh not bench presses yet.

Now I’ve moved onto body weight and resistance band exercises with a focus on unilateral training.  It’s a nice change, totally different. It’s still a good workout, I actually feel light and buzzy when I leave the gym each day.

Sesame oil
My friend and mentor Nicole from Cauldrons and Cupcakes shared a tip for those feeling anxious, particularly after earth tremors.  She suggested the use of sesame oil on the soles of the feet at night.  Can I suggest you wear socks if you try this as sesame oil, while gorgeously scented, is dark in colour and may stain your sheets. For the past two weeks I have been massaging a little oil into the soles of my feet before bed and I have slept better than I have in a very long time. Dreamt even.

Bubbles
I’m loving bubbles right now. I’m loving them because they are whimsical, fun and totally frivolous. There is no sensibility or maturity or rationality required with bubbles. I am seeing bubbles everywhere and they make me feel happy, light and full of gratitude for such simple pleasures.

Chiropractic adjustments.
I’ve enjoyed several sessions with a chiropractor recently and feel less crotchety, more fluid and vibrant. Yay!

Essential oils
Mmmm. I’m using a number of essential oils right now that are pure magic. Lavender, rosemary, peppermint, frankincense, geranium, orange and pine. There is no need for chemical based perfumes when you have can have a natural alternative with healing properties.

Zinc
I have to add zinc in here because I heard the other day that it has been shown to prevent colds and flu. My workplace has been hit hard by a dreadful flu, nearly everyone has had it and been off work for several weeks. Everyone that is except the woman who told me about the zinc and me. We figure it’s got to be the zinc that’s saved us.  What a blessing in disguise. I’m taking the zinc because my hair is falling out but I haven’t had the flu. Got to love it!

I could go on but who wants to read more? It’s nice to realise in the routine of life that little things stand out and bring moments of joy.

What are you lovin’ right now?

Shannyn

 

Life, it’s a gift. So write your own rules.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”
Pope Paul VI

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A friend recently wrote about attending the funeral of a dear friend at the end of last year. Reading her post I was moved and sobered by her loss, the passing of one so young, and the very gift of life itself.

Death forces us to sit up straight and pay attention. It makes all the little things, well, look just like little things. It gives us perspective. It’s a sharp hit of reality that forces us to focus on life. A death at a time of year when many people set resolutions and goals is particularly poignant.

How often do we hear that life is short? It is. It’s too short to live with regret. To live with fear. To live small.  Life is too short not to express ourselves fully, to feel deeply and to enjoy being crazy and daring and doing the things we love.

I wrote recently of setting some goals and creating a love list for the year. I’m going to hike a mountain, swing on a trapeze, I’m going to go to the beach and walk in the forest more often. I’m going to meet friends for lunch and take my husband out, to a different restaurant, each month for dinner.  I have plans for the year. My plans are my way of living. Of making life fun. Of honouring the lives of those I love who have lost theirs. But you know, I was thinking, as I was reading my friend’s blog, that to really honour our own life and the sweet beauty of it, we really ought to focus on giving stuff up too. I’m not talking about sugar and alcohol or cigarettes or whatever your vice might be. I reckon we need to give up guilt and shame and negative self talk. We need to free ourselves from the rules that have bound us, that have hemmed us in. We really ought to rewrite the rules of our lives and live on our own terms unrestricted by those old limiting patterns and beliefs, of the pointless merry-go-round of self sabotage.

The reality of our finite existence sometimes comes with the tragic loss of loved ones. What better way to honour the lives of those who have lost theirs by honouring our own.  Go ahead and make this year your best ever. What will you start doing, stop doing and do more if?

Shannyn

Celebrating life with a Love List. Do you have one?

Life isn’t a matter of milestones but of moments.
Rose Kennedy

Excited and full of anticipation.

Excited and full of anticipation.

I recently completed a three day hike. Not a long hike compared to others I’ve done, but it’s one I’ve long wanted to do.  When I first visited the Australian Blue Mountains, about ten years ago, and fell in love with the area I declared that one day I would walk the Six Foot Track.  The 45 kilometre walk is both incredibly scenic and historic. It was constructed in the 1880’s as a bridle track from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves and it is indeed six foot wide to, originally, allow two laden horses to pass.

What’s this got do with a Love List?  Well, when I completed the walk I shared a photo of celebration with friends and commented that I’d ticked another item off my bucket list.  A wonderful friend of mine shared my delight and suggested that I call it a Love List instead of a bucket list.

“What a great idea” I thought.  A bucket list focuses on the inevitable end of one’s life (which is not in itself a bad thing of course but the connotations are somewhat negative and conjures a sense of quiet desperation) whereas a Love List encapsulates life and energy and the present. A Love List is more of a celebration of living rather than trying to beat the clock.  I like it!

I have a list of places to go, challenges to complete as well as fun activities I’d like to achieve sometime in the near future. From that larger list I created a smaller list to focus on this year. Reflecting on my 2014 Love List this Easter season I realise I have officially achieved several of those goals and I am delighted.  Many of the items on my list are small, fun things such as visit my Nana every three to four weeks, take a photo a day and practice yoga three times a week. Other items require a little more planning such as visit Mon Repos, near Bundaberg, to see the Turtles laying their eggs. Something I’ve been meaning to do since I lived there 20 odd years ago.

Completing the Six Foot Track walk was one of those larger items on my list.  As I was travelling back from the Jenolan Caves to Blackheath after the walk it hit me that I’d just met a long held dream.  I had actually completed something I’d spoken about for years. I realise it isn’t climbing Everest or finding a cure for cancer but this small achievement left me momentarily speechless and full of emotion. Now, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and I’m enjoying the warm after glow of achieving a dream.  I’m allowing myself time to savour the moment before deciding on the next “big” adventure I’ll manifest.

Satisfied and elated at having achieved a dream.

Satisfied and elated at having achieved a dream.

Having a Love List gives me something out of the ordinary to work toward, to look forward to and to dream about. It keeps me motivated, excited and full of anticipation.  It’s a way for me to celebrate life. Do you have Love List?  I’d like to hear one or two of the dreams you have on yours.

Committed to creating more life adventures,
Shannyn