Too busy not to have fun.

There is always so much to do! Even in retirement, I find my days go by so fast that I often don't get the things done that I want to. I may not go into the office daily, but I still preach most Sundays. It's amazing how people think that doesn't take time, after all I have thirty-six years of sermons piled up. And then there's my improv workshops, the Facebook improv page I have to keep current, and my blog. There are family obligations, a house to keep up, meals to shop for and prepare, you know, regular life. I've heard many retired people say they don't know how they ever found time to work! For those of you who are still gainfully employed, I know it can get even worse. The forty-hour work week seems to be a thing of the past. Most people I know are spending more and more time bring work from home, and if they happen to work from home, there are no such things as time clocks. 

As a parish priest, I lamented that church activities no longer drew the numbers of people they used to. We struggled to get volunteers or even folks to show up for events. People just don't have enough time to do it all. Nor should we. We've become overworked, overbooked, over scheduled. Time to step back, take a breath, and prioritize. Some years back there was a popular religious book by Bill Hybels titled, "Too Busy Not to Pray." His thesis was that when people get stressed and over-worked, they cut back and prioritized, but they made a bad choice. Spending time praying, reading your bible, and attending worship were often the first things to go. Hybels said that those are too important to cut out because they give you rest and the strength to continue the work you need to do. I totally agree. Whether it's Christian, or Buddhist, or Muslim, or Hindu, your spiritual life is important to keep balance. But, this is a blog on IMPROV spirituality and part of improv spirituality is to have fun.

I can across another book this Advent, "The Power of Fun" by Catherine Price. Much like Hybels, she believes that our addiction to social media, work, and busy-ness causes us unhealthy stress. Rather than prayer, however, she focuses on fun. It's what she calls "the confluence of playfulness, connection, and flow." She provides five ways to increase fun; get moving, look for joy, connect, disconnect, and decouple money from time. 

As an improvisor, I can tell you that improvisation is a fantastic way to work on those five goals. If you've ever been to an improv class, you know you move. You play games, you created moving machines, you jump, you dance, you sing. You can find joy in making new friends and laughing at the silliest of things. Talk about connection, the best friends I ever made I met doing improv. Disconnecting is the hardest. It takes will power to put away your work, your worries, and cares for two hours and take an improv class. But it's worth it. But you might say, time is money. I can't waste my time playing at improv. Studies show that taking time for fun actually boosts productivity because it lets us take a break. 

In other words, you are probably too busy NOT to have fun. Your blood pressure, nerves, family, and boss will thank you that you took time to refresh yourself and learn something valuable in the process. The skills you learn in improv are skills for life. Find a class. It doesn't have to be mine, but find a place to stretch yourself, be free, not care what anyone thinks, and just have FUN!. 

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