During our own lifetimes, ways of having fun have shifted. Any older person can easily attest to this, but even the young ones among us can see differences.
At a college dinner a few days ago, a sophomore said, “I think our age group is lacking in social skills” and held up his phone to illustrate one of the reasons why. The next day I mentioned this at the gym where I teach fitness classes and got a chorus of agreement as my older students reported on their grandchildren’s behavior.
So much has changed, and we all see it, but how do we understand it?
Fun isn’t what it used to be.
When compared with previous generations:
- Children today have very little unstructured time.
- Longer school days and shorter recess periods.
- Structured sports teams rather than sandlot games.
- More screentime, more online, and less time in person.
- More social time in groups and less dating.
- More work demands on everyone.
- Families are squeezed for time.
Nonetheless we can all still have more fun more of the time.
It’s part of our nature as human beings to want this, but some ways of having fun work better than others.
How do we maximize our chances? By being born into fun-loving families and communities? We don’t have much choice. Partying all the time? That doesn’t actually work well even when people can afford to do it. Choosing fun-loving friends and finding work that is enjoyable? Ok, sure. Nice work if you can get it, as the old song says. In this economy, just finding a job at all can be pretty darned challenging.
But our own actions and attitudes still make fun more likely or less likely. Besides noticing the factors that are affecting us and noticing the choices we have, we can also step out a little, embrace our own social leadership, and figure out how to create more fun for ourselves and those around us.
For most of my adult life, I’ve been a bandleader and singer, helping people have fun at parties and celebrations. For the past seven years, I’ve also been helping people have fun with exercise classes. I’m going to begin posting ideas from the book I’m writing called What Makes It FUN? I invite you to join this conversation and subscribe to this blog.
Let’s make it fun!
Do you think that fun in general has changed? Is it just because we are getting older? Or are different kinds of fun available now (or less available now)?