Our 'Last Days of Summer' Happiness Challenge: FIND MORE FUN!

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I feel like a broken record, but life for me and Zach has been pretty crazy lately. We moved out of our place in Columbus and into a temporary place (for a few months) in Dayton. After which, career moves depending, we'll likely be moving farther south to Cincinnati, but that's still a little up in the air, which is an unsettling place to be, to say the least. Our schedules are thrown, my work resources are scattered, and I'm frazzled at best. But you all have moved, you know this. It's STRESSFUL!

We had been really enjoying keeping up with our monthly Happiness Project goals, but last month came and went and, amidst the chaos, we did absolutely no work on the chapter. I thought about trying to throw the post together, riddled with apologies. I thought about completely skipping it. I even thought about quitting the project altogether. Especially since the current month's "work" is all about taking time to play. Play?! How do I possibly find the time for that right now?! But, in fact, because of all the stress, I think that's possibly why it's more important than ever to find time to fit it in. We could both use a few fun mental breaks during this time.

So we've made a plan! We took the aspects that stood out most to us in the chapter and picked some things we'd both like to focus on. Some together, some separate. If you'd like to take these prompts and put together your own little challenge to have some fun over these last few weeks of summer, I'd love to hear about it! You can tell me your goals in the comments and even check back in the beginning of September to share your results!

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1. Find fun in the everyday.

Fun does not have to be a week-long Disney vacation. There are lots of ways to enjoy yourself even on the most mundane of days. Whether you like to do the daily crossword in the paper, spend time gardening, or even organizing your sock drawer- hey, whatever floats your boat! Figure out something simple that you truly enjoy (not something you wish you enjoyed) and find a way to notice it and practice it more in your everyday life.

For Zach and myself, we really like to be creative, so we're opting to take more photographs everyday. It's an effort to notice beautiful moments we may be overlooking.

2. Be a kid again.

Think back to your 10-year-old self, what did that child LOVE to do? If it was building model cars, roller skating, or belting out show tunes, it's safe to say that your adult self still loves this activity (or at least a version of this activity).

For me, when I think back on my childhood, it seems like I was always either jumping on the trampoline or making choreographed dances with my sisters and friends. So I'm choosing to dance more and Zach picked playing basketball. Both of these are also exercise, so I'm going to go ahead and give us like 1000 bonus points. Feel free to do the same.

3. Start a collection.

I can't say either one of us is much of a collector. I appreciate it from a novelty standpoint, but definitely not from a clutter standpoint. According to Rubin, however, a collection "provides a mission, a reason to visit new places, the excitement of the chase, a field of expertise (no matter how trivial), and, often, a bond with other people." Looking at it that way makes it seem a lot more appealing to me.

I had gotten a vintage merkabah kind of decorative object, similar to this, for two or three dollars at Goodwill, and I really love it. I'd like to make it a point to keep my eyes open for more things with those geometric and vintage qualities and start, what I'll call for now, an "orb" collection. Zach's idea is a bit more sentimental and I'll share more about it when we recap in September.

4. Challenge yourself.

These first three fun prompts have value: they're relaxing, they inspire creativity, they promote positive energy, etc. However, when you really get down to it, taking on the category of challenging fun is the most rewarding. It's also the most taxing, because it requires time, hard work, and planning ahead. Plus, it can lead to more frustration, anxiety, and the fear of possible failure. In this, however, lies the key. Because we must put more into challenging fun, we will also get more out of it. It can lead to better relationships, mastery of a craft, and important personal growth.

So think of something that you know you enjoy but have a hard time devoting yourself to, be it from fear, lack of commitment, whatever. That should be the focus of your challenge goal. For me that's illustrating. I hobby I consider both incredibly rewarding and almost impossible to actually sit down and do. And for Zach it's writing, of which he has similar feelings.

Are you inspired to take part? You can work on one of these categories or tackle all four.

Share the ways you're challenging yourself to have more fun in the comments so I can cheer you on! Plus, make sure to check back in early September for our recap!

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