In your life you can choose to either pursue fun or happiness. You can only choose one as your life goal because they are two very different pursuits that take you down two very different paths. For instance, you can either live to be like Lindsay Lohan or the Dalai Lama. Those are extreme examples, but they definitely point out the difference; one is about partying and the other is about contentment and peace. Of course, whatever one you choose to pursue as your primary goal (whether consciously or subconsciously) will be what you feel the most while the other will be secondary and merely a by-product. This means if you pursue fun you’ll feel that the most while happiness will only be an extra. Similarly, if you choose happiness, fun will be the extra. Here are some questions to further demonstrate the differences between these two goals:
Would you rather party all night, which leaves you tired the next day or get to bed at a decent time and then spend the next day completing a task like making a new garden at your house?
Would you rather pay to do a recreational activity (paintball, bowl, mini-putt, etc) or work at a homeless shelter for an afternoon?
Would you rather spend your money on amusement park rides or invest in your future?
Would you rather get drunk with friends or have a casual drink while chatting with someone?
Would you rather go to a big concert or spend the day hiking with a bonfire at night?
These questions point out how different fun and happiness are as life pursuits. The first is about spending money and doing bigger, fancier things while the other is about accomplishment, helping others and simplicity. The first is about doing things that are crazier in nature; they’re more daring and are more about excitement. The other is about connecting with yourself and others. The first will make you happy for a moment, but it will leave you craving the next adventure. The other is about contentment and finding pleasure in the simple things. You can’t pursue fun and not have moments of feeling down because for every high there is a low.
After fifteen years of working with young people, this week I finally saw the distinction between these two life goals this week. Most teenagers live to pursue fun, but the with this is they end up being miserable and not setting themselves up for a very successful future, especially since fun usually comes at the expense of doing school work. I hate homework; after 3 Masters Degrees I’ve earned the right to hate homework. Homework isn’t fun, but it made me a better person because I have a better work ethic now and I learned a lot in the process. Ultimately, what isn’t “fun” is usually what makes us better and more interesting people.
It’s amazing to me that at a time when celebrities like Lindsay Lohan screw up their lives by partying too much that young people strive to follow in their footsteps. Many young people glorify casual sex, drinking and drugs, but this doesn’t lead to happiness. For whatever reason, in many young peoples’ minds the ideal pursuit in life is to party. Of course, I don’t mean a pop and chip party watching wholesome family movies and sharing good conversations; I mean a party where people end up completely inebriated. I understand that for many throwing up all night because of drinking too much is often considered a warped kind of rite of passage to adulthood, but this is a very dangerous routine to have every weekend. If your goal is to party, however, you’re not pursuing happiness. Can you tell which side I think is the better pursuit? Yes, I’m old and “boring” but it really is the simple things that leave us happier. I should point out, however, that we need to throw in a few “fun” times to shake things up. It’s like a good diet includes a cheat day once in awhile in order to shake up the metabolism. The problem occurs when the shakeup is too often because then our goal is more about the fun.
This week may you consider what the difference between a life pursuing ‘fun’ or ‘happiness’ looks like and what you would rather have.
Rev Chad David, EmotionalSex.ca, ChadDavid.ca