When I first started dating after moving to Toronto in 2003, this was an often-asked question. My response was a rambling mumble that went something like, “I work out three or four times a week. I like to read. Um, I work a lot.” Wow…THAT’S exciting stuff! Later, I added pottery classes to my extracurricular activities…and there was always walking my dog. I bonded with other dog owners and spent time on manicured trails of Toronto’s well-kept parks no matter what the weather.
Somehow the days, weeks and months went by. It was fine when I was in the period of loving my work producing documentary films. But slowly over time, I came to realize that the opportunities I had been promised were not being delivered.
In February of 2007, I packed my despondent self on a plane to New York City. My friend, the multi-talented Jasmine Guy, was starring in a one woman show, “Raisin’ Cane,” at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. I hadn’t seen Jaz in two years. We were long overdue. This was a woman who could make me laugh even during the times tears of grief carved a river down my cheeks.
My first stop was Tarrytown to stay a couple of nights with old friends from York University. We sat around their dinner table, with candles glowing, late into the night. We ate samosas dipped in sweet sauce, drank wine, caught up on the past and laughed. I hung out at their studio and watched as Lisa, a master tap instructor and choreographer, taught. I listened to Philip’s latest musical masterpieces and soaked up the inspiration of being around creatives.
A couple of days later, I joined up with Jasmine and we made whirlwind rounds of school performances on the outskirts of the city circling ever closer to the grand finale at the Apollo. I hung out backstage with her musicians, director and other friends and family. It was a joy to be in the company of great artists. At night, a long black limo shuttled us around finally depositing us back at the W Hotel.
By the end of the weekend, I realized I was terribly unhappy with my life. It wasn’t the limos or high end hotels but being out of my work cocoon and connected again to people I loved. I realized I hadn’t been able to answer what I did for fun because I wasn’t having fun. In New York, I ate, laughed and celebrated with friends. I spent time in the presence of amazing creativity and felt part of a community. This didn’t exist back in Canada for me. This part of healing from losing my husband, gaining my strength and uncovering my long buried desire to enjoy life again was complete.
As I boarded the plane back to Toronto, I realized I had to make a change. Being immersed in a weekend of creativity, laughter, song and dance held the light up to my misery. I was now on a mission to bring fun back into my life…in all areas.
Over the course of the next three months, I flew to Los Angeles to re-establish contacts there and began to plan my return to that city which has always felt like home to me. I gave up pottery and took up salsa dancing. It changed my life and I changed my life. By August that year, I had exited the life and the circumstances that no longer fed my soul.
Ask me now what I do for fun and I have no problem answering enthusiastically. If the your answer doesn’t roll off your tongue easily, stop and assess. Check out your bucket list, evaluate your career and your relationships. Fun keeps us young, inspired, connected. It lightens our load, our life and the world. Do your part today and find one way to have some fun…then keep at it!