Watercolor & Pencil by Adra Fisher
“Wheeee!” Watercolor & Pencil by Adra Fisher (Click to Enlarge)

As Labor Day, the “offi­cial end of sum­mer” approach­es, let’s not for­get that just because the kids are back in school, they — and we — don’t have to stop hav­ing fun. In fact, relax­ing and enjoy­ing our­selves in these fraught and hec­tic times seems more impor­tant than ever.

Australian professor/researcher/author Alan McKee defines fun as “plea­sure with­out pur­pose.” It is essen­tial, he con­tends, for liv­ing our best lives.

I had not heard of McKee or his 2016 book, Fun! What Entertainment Tells Us About Living a Good Life, until I stum­bled upon a recent New York Times quiz and opin­ion piece by Frank Augugliaro and Jessica Bennett. Who could resist tak­ing an online quiz titled, “What’s Your Fun Vibe? An Unscientific Quiz”?

Always a seek­er of deep self-knowl­edge, I took the quiz — which was fun in and of itself. And the results were sur­pris­ing­ly accu­rate, or at least con­firmed my opin­ion of my per­son­al fun-ness. After answer­ing 20 ques­tions, my “Fun Vibe” was cat­e­go­rized and described as fol­lows: Low-Key: Gardening, read­ing a good book, or qui­et­ly peo­ple-watch­ing is your kind of fun. You’ve been known to say, “We don’t need to drink to have a good time.” All true, although I must say that the two-mar­gari­ta lunch I recent­ly enjoyed on the deck at Hall’s scored pret­ty high on my per­son­al fun meter.

So how are you hav­ing fun these days? The pan­dem­ic has tak­en a toll on us all, which makes fig­ur­ing out ways to enjoy our­selves safe­ly and respon­si­bly impor­tant. Are you the social type who needs to be around oth­ers to have a good time, or are soli­tary endeav­ors more appeal­ing to you? There are no right or wrong answers here — only per­son­al pref­er­ences — though I sus­pect that most of us pre­fer a mix­ture of social inter­ac­tion and alone time.

Winchester and Clark County have much to offer in the way of fun — beau­ti­ful parks, a live­ly down­town, scenic rur­al land­scapes, and pas­sion­ate cit­i­zens who care deeply about the com­mu­ni­ty — but fun can also be man­i­fest­ed from with­in. Years ago, when I lived in rur­al Fleming County, I worked with a woman from Atlanta who had moved to Flemingsburg sev­er­al years before I did. We often mused about the leisure­ly pace of life in that qui­et lit­tle town, and I’ll nev­er for­get her com­ment­ing one hot sum­mer after­noon that “around here, we make our own fun.” 

Words to live by, for sure — then and now.

We can all make our own fun, which I would argue is as much — or more — ful­fill­ing than seek­ing it from exter­nal sources. If this idea is for­eign to you, or you need inspi­ra­tion, look no fur­ther than the near­est child.

Kids are mas­ters at fun-mak­ing, so if you’re lucky enough to have some around, watch and learn. In my neigh­bor­hood, we’re for­tu­nate to have a pic­turesque lit­tle creek sur­round­ed by a paved oval per­fect for walk­ing and bike-rid­ing. Kids of all ages grav­i­tate to this spot, and I don’t think I’ve ever encoun­tered any­one in this idyl­lic set­ting who was not hav­ing a good time.

Fun begets fun, and who among us wouldn’t mind more of that kind of con­ta­gion? Watching those neigh­bor­hood kids inspired me to try to cap­ture their exu­ber­ance in water­col­or, an expe­ri­ence that I can only describe as high­ly plea­sur­able. As sum­mer fades and we move into September, we might all do well to remem­ber and cul­ti­vate our innate capac­i­ty for fun. After what we’ve been through these past few years, I think we deserve at least that. Don’t you?

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    Adra Fisher grew up in Winchester, moved away in her ear­ly 20s and returned a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry lat­er. She enjoys all types of art and encour­ag­ing oth­ers to live creatively.