Value #4: Pleasant Pastimes

Value #4: Pleasant Pastimes
alex at the beach with her dogs
with my pals at the beach

At this point, I have decided that flourishing is to be desired, sustained by a happy household and reassuring relationships, and now I am moving onto pleasant pastimes.  It’s starting to get complicated and interesting as the values start overlapping more.

And that’s fine with me – my life is not a building held up by pillars, it’s more like a tornado spiralling out of control – pulling debris up from the bottom and launching it out the top.  Or possibly more apt, a maze with dead ends and turn backs, and what in the cat’s fuzz [1] happened to my cheese [2]?  As the purported Chinese Curse says “May you live in interesting times.”

This value draws against the others; it’s about having fun and going on adventures.  For me, fun is a day-to-day happenstance whereas adventures are something you go out to à la Famous Five [3].


It’s a hard thing when someone asks what you do for fun isn’t it?  It’s kind of worse when you ask yourself and you don’t really know the answer.  I recall that younger me spent a lot of time curled up with books, and there are lots of photos of me doing just that.  It was pleasant but part of the point of reading was to escape reality, not live it so that doesn’t really count.  I recently taught myself to knit, and that was interesting, possibly fun, but more of an intellectual exercise.

Can you be at home and have fun?  I imagine so if you had the right people with you.  Can you go out and have fun?  The same.  I don’t know about you, but often when I am with people I am doing things – eating, drinking, seeing a show, visiting an exhibition, going for a drive in the country.  I think all these activities would be fun, with the right people.

So can you have fun alone?  Well, I guess that depends on what fun is.  Is it:

  • making something – writing, drawing, cooking, knitting?  Is creating something fun?
  • taking a bath?  Or a nap?  Giving myself a facial.  Is self-care fun?
  • finishing unfinished business, learning something new, meditating?  Is self-improvement fun?
  • going for a walk, or a swim.  Is exercise fun?
  • listening to music or watching a movie?  Is entertainment fun?

I think fun is something that makes you laugh.  Fun goes with games a lot doesn’t it?  So it might follow that fun is anything you could make a game of, as well as things that are already games like playing with the dogs.  So you can have fun without other people – could it really be as easy as just deciding to have fun?


I see adventure as a bold step outside my normal reality (which does technically mean every day is an adventure).  But while I was putting this thread together, I was thinking about international vacations.  As a transplant recipient my options are somewhat limited, e.g. on immune suppression, I can’t go trekking through the jungle, or to destinations with poor sanitation and/or medical care.  But that still leaves plenty of places to go and experiences to have.

Adventure is also a form of risk taking, and here I am already taking a risk by setting up this blog.  And trying new things, like scarlet lipstick.


And writing all this down highlights that up to now there hasn’t been a place to just be.





Pleasant pastimes are a bit chaotic aren’t they?  Are they are in the right place in the values hierarchy?  What are your pastimes?

Next time I’ll discuss my fifth value area, and in a future post make some plans to develop this area further.

The story so far:

[1] Katy told me about this version of WTF? coined by an ageing female acquaintance – I love it!

[2] Spencer Johnson & Kenneth Blanchard,  Who Moved My Cheese?

[3] Enid Blyton, Five on a Treasure Island


  1. CND says:

    One (if that one is ME!) can definitely have fun alone. For me, it often involves feeling like I am getting away with something…lying in the sun when I ought to be vacuuming or similar. I think “fun” varies according to the type of person one is. To some people (me again!), everything is fun (waiting with great anticipation for December 13 this year so I can write 12-13-14 – whee!; or the price paid at the grocery store is an even amount, with no cents; or getting a real letter in the regular mail) while to others it is something that must be scheduled like a vacation. And everything in between. Now that you’ve got me thinking about it, I am inclined to believe that FUN comes about when one’s usually-thought-to-be meaningless and frivolous [childish?] desires are met. Joy=fun.

    • Alexandria says:

      Thanks for your thoughts (and continuing to read) CND. You seem to feel that fun is a childlike thing – the pleasure of being right then and there in the moment. Sort of like the risky adventurousness of skipping school, but also making the perfect macaroni picture. It sounds like a state of flow – like when you are in “the zone”, and this is sometimes described as a state of joy. So, not something you can choose as I suggested, but I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you could schedule either. Just something that happens when you are fully engaged in what you are doing. I’m not sure how I can plan for that!

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