I got an Evite invitation a couple of months ago for a friend’s party. The creative hosts had made up their own reply headings, and the section for informing them that you were unfortunately going to have to decline their lovely soiree was titled, “No Thanks, I Don’t Like Fun.”
This made me feel both delighted and deflated–the former, because I loved their ingenuity, and the latter, because I actually couldn’t go. Thankfully, it was because I had equally fun plans, but still, there’s something about checking a box that says, “No Thanks, I Don’t Like Fun” that just isn’t, well, fun. I have been thinking about this ever since.
I grew up on a farm. Farm kids are born busy, and develop impressive work ethics, if they don’t choke and run away to join the circus (where they will find they were deluded, for circus life also requires an impressive work ethic). But there is always something to be done. And something after that. And something after that. And you learn not to sit down much. And if you sit down, chances are you may very well be told to stand up again and go do something else. Farm life has many pleasures, to be sure, but there is always lots to do.
Don’t get me wrong. An impressive work ethic is a wonderful thing. But if you internalize it too much, you find yourself trained to always look for that something “more” to do and conditioned to feel guilty every time you sit down to do something unquantifiably productive. This is sad, and probably also a little unhealthy. There will always be more to do. Something more to organize. Something else to clean. It will never end. And that’s not bad–taking care of life and helping the people who count on you is important. But all work and no play, as they say… and isn’t there some expert somewhere who says that dirt is healthy and builds character?
And so. Here I go, picking up from almost four months ago, an unintended hiatus. Four months of unintentionally checking the, “No Thanks, I Don’t Like Fun” button when it comes to writing and imagining and pondering books and words and shoes and ships and sealing wax, etc. And there are books to talk about—the last four months have not been without books. (We are discussing a hiatus after all, not a death sentence.)
I think I will make myself a sign to hang somewhere that I will see every day that says, “Yes, Thanks, I Like Fun.”
You can make one too. Take a picture of it. Post it up for everyone to see.