I don’t know if there’s any question in the world that turns me into a pile of Jello more than, “What do you like to do for fun?” I feel like I even have a more eloquently prepared reply for the worst question in the world, “What are you going to do with your life?”
But something about the nature of being asked what I like to do for fun reduces me to a blubbering, sad excuse for a human. They’re asking you what you do when you’re not working. When you’re not busy, not running errands, not doing the things in life that we do just to get through. They’re asking what we do when the keys hit the ignition in our cars after a long day and all we’ve got is our freedom ahead of us.
Really, they’re asking what our passions are.
Two weeks ago I was on a date, and everything was going almost too well to be true. Then suddenly he turns around shoots that question at me.
“What do you like to do for fun?”
For some reason in my head I screamed “NOOOOO” but I tried to form a string of words together. “I uh, you know. What everyone does” – not true – “when I’m not working or going to school” – lame – “free time, what is that, right?” And then I realized how mind-bogglingly awful of a response that was, so I attempted to remedy it with, “I really like to go to the beach. I like to write, and uh, run, and play tennis.”
I would have stopped what I was doing and un-dated me on the spot.
What is it with this question? I know it’s not only me, because I’ve experienced the awkwardness of this discussion in multiple different scenarios. And I think there’s more to it than the fact that if someone wants to know what we do on Friday nights we’re embarrassed to say that we spent it playing hide and seek with our cat or determining how many marshmallows we can fit into our mouths.
We want to be cool. We want to be that person who can reply, “Oh, me? I like to go out to fantastic parties and fly jet planes across the sky while sipping martinis.” We don’t want to tell people we like to look at cute hedgehogs on Instagram, or collect antique coins, or knit complicated scarves.
Why not? These are the things that make us who we are and we shouldn’t be afraid to share them. Not everyone can fly jets. If everyone did, it would be boring.
Then there’s the problem of drawing blanks. My mind becomes a massive empty void when I’m asked what kinds of things I’m into, and I’m left in a downward spiral of desperately trying to recall those things while wondering, “Am I really a boring person?”
Sometimes I think I am, but really I have to convince myself I’m not. I’ve recently been peeling myself away from watching episode after episode of Breaking Bad in order to prove to people that I am not an uninteresting blob. I like to go to the beach, like everyone else says, which is fine because it’s a great thing to do. I like to rollerskate, write, and shoot the bow and arrow my brother got me for my birthday, no matter how terrible I am at it. I’m training for a half-marathon, like to slackline, go linedancing, and have turned thrifting into a legitimate hobby. My bucket list is full of other things I’m (hopefully) going to turn into legitimate hobbies.
When it comes down to it, this is a question of knowing what you love to do. Those of us who know, tell it to others without any qualms. Those of us who don’t, well, you’re not going to find it scrolling through your Facebook feed, so let’s get outside and do some new things.
If you’re uninspired, here’s a list of things I think are adequately cool to tell someone you like to do for fun, some of which I’ve already mentioned.
- See a concert – your favorite bands’ tickets are probably cheaper than you think, so go give them a listen in person.
- Paddleboard – this might not be available to everyone according to where you live, but if you can, hop on a board and put your balance to the test.
- Go line-dancing – it doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran or if you’ve never done a two-step in your life, this is still a fun way to spend your evening.
- Take a class – it might not sound that interesting, but learning a skill is actually super cool. My neighborhood rec center teaches fencing, so you could say you like to have sword battles for fun. Casual.
- Geocache – if you’ve never heard of this real-life treasure hunt, then you’ve been missing out…on a real-life treasure hunt. Head over to geocaching.com to get started.
- Read a book – yeah, really. First of all, you can finally be the literary revolutionary you know you are, second of all, reading is actually cool.
- Yoga – alright, this is definitely not for everyone, but if you’ve got four limbs and need a new way to relax and build your strength, then this could be your new hobby.
- Cook something – it seems like in today’s fast food society, cooking has become a lost art. Find it again.
- Paint – yep, paint, even if you’re not good. Creating something is always rewarding. If you’re not ready to go there, adult coloring books have been all the rage.
- Jump out of a plane – I may mean this literally, I may mean this figuratively.
Do something that gets you excited about life, and something that gives you a story you want to tell. That’s when you know it’s what you do for fun.