Kill Joy

boredIn the last couple of articles I have been talking about fun (Fun and its Role in Happiness), challenging you to write a list of things you find to be fun and to differentiate whether they are a pleasure or something you find gratifying as differentiated by Martin Selgiman (Are We Having Fun Yet?). But in my personal experiences I propose that there is a third category of what people refer to as fun – that is things that are not fun at all, but simply numbing out or killing time. The intended purpose of this short series of articles is to invite you to examine what have you labled as “fun” or an activity that you “like”. Do you actively enjoy that activity? Does it make you laugh or warm your heart? Does it bring you some sort of pleasure or a sense of pride for reaching your goal or accomplishing a task? OR is what you’ve been calling “fun” simply killing time or numbing out? There are a couple of games I like to play on the computer. Or do I? As I have done my own introspection, I have discovered that Bejeweled Blitz is not “fun” per se. It is just a way I am killing time and/or zoning out. It is “down time”. What I find frustrating is that time slips by and the next thing I know an hour of my time has gone by and I did not really enjoy it or feel gratified by it. In fact, I found that my predominant feelings while playing the game are anxious and frustrated. So, why do I play it? Not because it is “fun” but because I am seeking downtime. Downtime is very important as part of Happiness. Unfortunately, because I have numbed out, I have not do not feel refreshed as I would if I had done something that was truly taking downtime. Instead, I have only succeeded in wasting an hour of my day.
Alcohol or drugs is something else to look at. Rather than going off on a rip about it, I challenge you to decide for yourself. Is it a pleasure, a gratification or are you just numbing out or killing time?
Have fun.
~Frank Clayton, LPC

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