Doing Something Just for Fun

arts goals life balance perfectionism simplicity well-being Mar 21, 2023
Charis Santillie playing with watercolor technique from the book 15 Minute Watercolor Masterpieces
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🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #048 here.

When was the last time you did something that was truly just for fun?

A few months ago, I had a gift card for a bookstore and went browsing in the art section. I happened upon a book called 15 Minute Watercolor Masterpieces. It really jumped out at me, so I got it. Then I set it propped up in my studio so it would catch my attention whenever I walked into that room. I looked forward to following the instructions to revisit this art form in what appeared to be a simplistic, undaunting way. The idea of being able to do a watercolor in 15 minutes made it feel doable, and I liked the simple, pretty examples that were shown on the cover—there was a bird, a tree, some flowers, leaves, fruit, and mountains. The whole thing felt like an invitation to have fun creating something very simple.

I enjoy being artistic, but watercolor is something I hadn’t done since I was a child—so we’re talking 30+ years ago—and my memory of it was one of feeling frustrated because it was something that I couldn’t control the way I could control charcoal pencils or acrylic paint.

I remember when I was young, working on a watercolor painting for school, of an outdoor scene, and struggling with the head of a deer. I remember getting so frustrated and feeling like I was making it worse every time I tried to fix it. So I asked my Mom to help. She was so talented and able to fix it with ease. Well, that is honestly my last memory of doing watercolors. I think I kind of gave up on them and basically made up the story that they aren’t fun and are too much effort. 

Yet I’ve continued to be intrigued by them. I have a friend who paints beautiful watercolors, and it always inspires me to see people like her, who have the patience and skills to work with them. But here’s an important point: she developed the skills to work with them. It’s not like she was born knowing how to paint with watercolor.

And here’s the truth. I’ve often wished I could try watercolor again. But could I have a beginner’s mindset? Could I release expectations of myself to produce something amazing? Could I actually explore it just for fun? 

And I’ll be even more honest with you. Let’s go deeper. This isn’t just about watercolor. I have the desire to continue to loosen up overall in my life and explore things just for fun. I know—and I have proven to myself—the more I release control, the more I release expectations, the more I loosen up and play, the more fun I have. And that’s the point. I truly believe that we’re supposed to have fun in this life—a lot more fun than most of us allow ourselves to have, especially as adults.

So to fulfill that, I need to listen to the little moments I feel curious about something, as I did with that book. Then I needed to take the next step and buy the book. Then I needed to actually get out the watercolors (which I did a few weeks ago) and move them and the book to my desk. And then I needed to quiet the voice in my head trying to give me excuses for why I was too busy to sit down and play with those paints. And then there was the voice trying to tell me that it was going to be frustrating...

Well, I was able to quiet those voices long enough to put some water in a container, grab some brushes, find some paper that would work (even though it wasn’t watercolor paper), open the book, and let myself have fun and play. I noticed that when I did this, I really was present in the moment.

I felt relaxed. I felt peaceful.

And I started at the beginning; I went through all of the introductory lessons about technique and followed the exercises to explore brush strokes and changing the opacity of the color by adding more or less water. Then I skimmed over the various objects and scenes she had to choose from.

I became aware when I started feeling tired and felt like stopping. So I stopped, cleaned up, and ordered some watercolor paper.

Now I’m looking forward to more play time, and reinforcing my new story that watercolor can be simple and fun. 

Is there something you’ve been itching to try for the first time, or maybe try again, and you have no real purpose to do it besides just having fun?

Is there something you’ve made up a story about that you know isn’t true, but that story has given you a great excuse to avoid trying that thing you really would like to do?

Don’t let your old stories and excuses keep you from filling your life with fun.

A truly fulfilled life is a fun-filled life, and you get to choose your fun.

Consider something you’d like to do and commit to taking just the first step.

Remember, all I did initially was buy a little book.

I know it can all feel a bit daunting, though, to start taking action on doing something for yourself, let alone just for fun. So I have something that can help you. It’s a new, free video training called “How to Live Life on Your Own Terms and Timeline (And Stop Sacrificing Your Sanity, Personal Space, or Social Life.” Just go here to watch it.

“Having fun is not a diversion from a successful life; it is the pathway to it.” 

– Martha Beck

🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #048 here.

Note: Some links in this blog are affiliate links to Amazon. You don’t pay anything extra to use these, and I may get a small commission.

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