I Didn’t Know How To Answer “What do you do for fun?”

Small introductory talk is hard at the best of times, but today I didn’t know how to answer the innocuous question “What do you do for fun?”.  The inquirer was a person I had just met in my friend’s backyard. It wasn’t a date or an interview … just two strangers who happen to be in the same space. My inability to answer the question honestly dropped my mind like a rock and the following rapid negative (yet realistic) thinking ensued.

“What do I do for fun? I can’t remember the last time that I had fun. I do do stuff, but I find those things fulfilling, engaging, necessary, but not fun. Am I too serious? Do I not know how to enjoy life? Et cetera …”

I was already feeling awkward: the host is a new, yet very deep, friend and it was the first time I had met his friends, family and partner. I had come alone to the party. None of my other friends had met him yet. I spent a lot of time inspecting the garden and staring at the view of the valley, masking my social anxiety with appreciating the view.

Things that I enjoy doing … they are … For the past 3 years or so, since this period of major depression started, I have lost interest and enjoyment. Anhedonia is the clinical term for it, but I prefer “meh” or the french word “bof”. I used to love to cook, I even made a successful career of it, but I hardly cook at all now. I study a subject that I find engaging, sometimes fulfilling, but it’s not fun. I work to pay the bills. Fun is just not a priority when I’m trying to feel like my life is meaningful, so I can go on, when I don’t feel like I want to stay on this planet. By being so engaged, have I lost the ability to be care-free? I suppose that’s the essence of it, I feel like I need to care, otherwise I won’t care about anything at all, including myself. I need to see the aesthetic and scientific beauty in the clouds above me or the leaves of a plant.

I don’t know if I am ready for fun yet. My studies give me meaning and are fulfilling. I hope to be able to help other people in the future, but I don’t do it for fun. But to have no fun? To not feel giddy, cheerful or amused? This isn’t a sustainable way to live.