Today I have on my sassy pants because there’s a messy task ahead. Oh it will be a TON of fun, but messy. We are going to tip over some sacred cows like how fun is evil and misery is awesome.
Granted I am from Texas and have heard stories of those miscreants who’ve sneaked (snuck? snucked?) in under cover of darkness to traipse across pastures littered with steaming cow poo…for the sheer joy of pushing over sleeping bovines.
I, myself, have never indulged in this innocent mischief and remain dubious this “cow-tipping” thing is even real. But supposedly the boogeyman isn’t real and yet–even as an adult–I never sleep with a foot off the edge of the bed.
I can’t see how tipping over innocent cows could be half the fun we hear it is, but I assure you tipping these sacred cows?
LOADS of FUN.
Sacred Cow #1—Fun=Ineffective Time-Waster
Remember being a kid and it was actually okay to have fun? Then something weird happened in adolescence and everything got super serious. Teens of course have hormones and the whole “forging a distinctive identity” thing to blame, not to mention *ugh* high school.
But what is our excuse?
As kids we longed to grow up, to be ADULTS, so we could be…FREE.
About that. We humans are weird.
Give us anything that might liberate us and make life BETTER, and we will quickly turn it into a soul-sucking chore. It is simply astounding all the stuff that is fun…that we RUIN.
Bear with me.
We might start at the gym because we know going for a walk is good for us. We also know the gym is climate controlled so we won’t be able to use rain or sun or wind as an excuse to not get some exercise.
We start walking and feeling better. Yay, lower back feels great. Thirty minutes. Happy endorphins and we are very proud of what we have done.
We bask in the glow of our one month of walking five days a week for thirty minutes. In fact, we feel this self-discipline thing really isn’t so hard at all!
A personal trainer notices we’ve been at the gym regularly and steps in to…help.
DON’T FALL FOR IT! IT’S A TRICK!
Sacred Cow #2—TRUST the “Experts”
Mere moments earlier, we felt AWESOME, only now realize how misguided we were. Oh, thank goodness this expert saved us from destruction!
The trainer, deeply concerned for our welfare tells us with all kinds of statistics and studies that our silly walking is not enough.
No, we must add in weight training. Not just any weight training. No, it needs to be high weight low reps. No, high reps low weight. Scratch that, high intensity!
No! You fool! You are overtraining! You need recovery time. Oh, you took recovery time because you can’t sit on the potty without a Life Alert bracelet? You’re just going to have to suck it up.
Did we mention your diet?
Remember, simplicity is KEY.
If you do cardio, eat carbs 90 minutes before aerobic exercise and protein 30 minutes before weight training. Then protein within 90 minutes after doing cardio.
Post-workout, rub your body in coconut oil (unrefined, of course) and stretch but only when Mercury is in retrograde–and within the 123 minute window after cardio–or the stretching and expensive coconut oil all a waste.
Got it? No. Okay, let’s create a plan for you. Mastercard or Visa?
The next thing we know this FUN time at the gym has now turned into a personal hell where we are prodded by macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients all using pointy vitamin-supplement pitch forks.
We cling to that trainer who saved us from our pointless 30-minute walks and toss money at her if only she can help it all make sense (or she will go away)!
More often than not, we return to our blanket fort…where there are snacks.
We adults do this crap ALL THE TIME. Hey I am guilty, too. We know as adults we should want to be better, do better and we start out well-meaning enough.
Yet we fall for it…
Sacred Cow #3—The More It SUCKS the BETTER!
From books on “simple home organization” to “better parenting” to “eating healthier” to “financial freedom” we generally tend to fall into this bizarre belief that the more it sucks, the better it must be.
Like the crappier food tastes, the healthier it is!
Soon, we start shackling ourselves to all kinds of bizarre and UNFUN legalism. We wanted to be free (of extra weight, too much clutter, too many bills).
Yet all these books and courses and virtual tools to save time and make life better…kinda just make us want to drink heavily and OD on brownie batter.
We soon find we avoid the gym we once loved like Ebola, are afraid of our mailbox, and with our spouse and kids? We turn into the HULK only meaner and in yoga pants (because those won’t split when we “turn”).
THIS IS A SPONTANEOUS SCHEDULED FAMILY FUN SESSION AND SO HELP ME YOU BETTER START SMILING OR I…WILL…END…YOU!
Hmm, maybe just me.
Why DO We DO This?
Much can be blamed on Western culture (Americans being the most guilty). Many of us are taught from youth that FUN=BAD.
We’re riddled with guilt about pleasure and fun (and sure, we can probably blame those sour-faced Puritans for laying the groundwork).
*stabs Plymouth Rock in my mind*
Yet kids are robbed of recess, daydreaming is forbidden, and only school-sanctioned imaginative activities are allowed (refer to why my son was kicked out of preschool for liking zombies). Put a kid in sports, gymnastics or dance and see how long it takes for all the fun to get sucked right out of THAT.
Why does all this happen?
Because fun-stealing is big business if we allow it.
Cruise lines can sell us a package of joy and harmony and relaxation. Then, the pharmaceutical companies step in to sell us the anti-anxiety meds required for taking a whole week off to have…*gulp* fun.
We return to our day jobs and 547 unread emails is our penalty for being so selfish as to believe we might actually need to rest now and again.
Maybe we should buy that app to check messages at sea.
Many Americans proudly wear the “I Haven’t Taken a Day Off Since Y-2K” badge of honor…even though we all secretly hate them and know if they took a little time for fun, they might actually not be such frigging jerks.
And Ms. I Never Take Vaca is there to sneer at us for our “weakness.” She embodies FUN! Because the sheer joy of leading the PTA, baking a zillion nut-free GF cookies, and zooming her kids to every social event imaginable is fulfillment in and of itself and all the “fun” required for “good mothers.”
*stabs her in our minds, too*
And Mr. I Never Need Holiday is there at work (where else?). He recommends the Intensive Weeklong Fasting and Time-Management-Leadership-Be-Your Best-Self-in-Less-Than-Nine-Minutes-a-Day-Retreat…which is of course, conveniently offered on-line.
Also, he can reach us every minute of the day via text or email…unlike when we were so naughty as to take that cruise.
It’s madness. I know!
Yet here we are. All staring at each other on the crazy train wondering how the heck we keep meeting again.
Follow the Money
Honest truth is authentic fun is not near the moneymaker as the “shill” of fun. Look at all those “activities” I mentioned that should be fun and who’s there to step in? Experts.
Who happen to make money.
Who can help us with our exercise, diet, meditation, and train our kids for the Olympics!
***Even though little Mackenzie just liked doing cartwheels and we thought gymnastics class would be fun—silly us!
When we were kids who simply had FUN, we didn’t count how many minutes of cardio we’d done riding bikes four hours straight. We gave no thought to the carbs or lack of macro-nutrients in that giant cherry Slurpee we inhaled.
Then we grew up and used our larger and more highly developed brains to think all the fun out of well…pretty much everything.
I see this over and over in social media.
The greatest tool writers have been handed to become free, is being used to enslave us.
“Experts” tell us that an author platform is serious business. If we’re having fun, then we aren’t being professional.
We need automation and vlogs and podcasts and to be everywhere on every site all the time contributing mind-blowing content for exposure!
*feels dirty inside*
Then there is the gathering emails, decoding analytics, sales strategies, promotional tactics, targeting our market…
Call me crazy, but does any of that sound like ANY FUN? SERIOUSLY! We all started this writing journey because we are the dreamers and find imaginary people more interesting than real ones (because they are). We wanted to write to be FREE!
To have FUN!
Granted, a brand is important and social media is vital, and selling lots of books way more fun than selling no books. But anyone who’s shoveling out manure from one of those sacred cows we tipped?
Refuse the Kool-Aid
On social media FUN is SUPER effective. People are drawn to it. The world is a dark and dreary place and getting gloomier by the second. Fun stands out.
Authenticity is priceless! We know it when we see it because joy shines bright!
It creates genuine connections (code for relationships). But here is the kicker! Friendship, trust, care, hope, joy and fun cannot be measured in metrics 😉 .
And when stuff is fun–as in truly fun–we ENJOY DOING IT. When we enjoy it, we don’t have to outsource it, set reminders or pay people to do it FOR us.
I am not completely eschewing all experts because um…that would be dumb. Experts who empower us are great! Who teach us how to set up properly to avoid injury, waste or pain? Yay!
But experts who make us into permanent revenue streams because they’ve overwhelmed us and made us hysterical?
Because many will convince us the more something sucks the better it works…but they (benevolently) have an affordable plan to deliver us from this suckage.
Blunt truth is if we don’t tip some of these sacred cows, it just leaves us the cash cow.
In the end, life is short. Enjoy it.
What are your thoughts? Are you like me and struggle with fun? Then try to do something fun and overcomplicate it and wreck it? I know I do. Hey, I am a work in progress too!
Do you feel like “experts” are constantly there to pounce on you and wring cash out of you? Do you fall for the “It only works if I am miserable”?
Hey I write this blog for FREE and constantly look for experts, but to stay on top of scm, trends, business, craft, I have to be SUPER careful. I strive to be better to help y’all be better and that is not always easy *deletes 765 unsolicited emails from experts*
I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU! And I am NOT above BRIBERY!
What do you WIN? For the month of OCTOBER, for everyone who leaves a comment, I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
To also prove social media is and should be super fun and that while you might need a little training, you DO NOT need a team of professionals paid to “manage your brand”: