My reaction to 'easy and fun' used to be something like disgust, or revulsion, with a strong undercurrent of disbelief and just a whiff of admiration
okaayyyy okay I give I'll participate!
Easy and fun: Reading contemporary rom-com style + spicy fairy books. DON'T JUDGE ME. Also, and istg i'm not just saying it, working with my clients. Y'all are cool and make work not even feel like work. Rly nice v superb 10/10 clients.
Neither fun nor easy but ultimately satisfying: Not drinking alcohol. (this is, frankly, complete balls. but ultimately the benefits outweigh the buzz. alliteration, cool!)
Hard and miserable and I've given it up: Forcing myself to be a soulless, numbers-are-the-only-thing-that-matters growth hacker. As the old adage goes, "Not me, wrong bitch."
Easy and fun: Seeing where a new idea goes when I start to write it
Hard but satisfying: Revising my writing
Hard and miserable: Doing any of the above on an arbitrarily restrictive timeline
Thank you for writing this post! Something I’ve been thinking about A LOT lately and you really gave my feelings words.
East and fun: reading, always!
Hard but worthwhile: raising my children...
Hard and miserable and given up for good: commuting to a job and working in an office
A few weeks ago I launched an interview series called “Cave of the Heart.” The concept first planted in my head five years ago and it’s finally here. I don’t think at the start I thought that it would be a formal interview series, but I just knew that finding my way to some deep inner knowing couldn’t be all on me. I felt like it was supposed to be a group project maybe, but I had no idea what it was supposed to turn into.
And now, I’ve just published the third interview in the series this week and much like your “ladies illness library” it’s just so easy and joyful. I think it’s a good example of downright rotten life experiences turning into energetic manure that’s now nourishing the soil of something life giving maybe?
Sometimes the same work that is easy and fun takes a dark turn to hard and miserable, depending where I'm at in a project's process, what day it is, how I slept, etc. I've been trying to keep slack in my schedule so if a particular day feels hard, I don't actually haaaaavvve to do anything, but this is... hard.
1. Easy and fun: Various instant ramen hacks.
2. Neither easy nor fun but satisfying: My 2022 income tax return.
3. Hard and miserable and given up for good: Hanya Yanagihara's "A Little Life"
In endurance sports, these are known as types 1, 2, and 3 fun.
Type 1. What have you done lately that was easy and fun, or had a “special energy” to it?
Was just on a call with a science writers' zoom group doing a deep read of an article.
Type 2. What have you done lately that was neither easy nor fun, but felt satisfying anyway?
It wasn't fun at the time, but you feel good afterwards, and would do it again.
Most Sunday morning group bike rides. Taxes!
Type 3. What is something hard and miserable that you’ve given up for good
Working for a corporation
Easy and fun: we were in Italy last week, and my wife and I did two epic hikes from the hill town of Ravello down to two different coastal cities near Amalfi and back up. Each hike took about two and a half hours. The scenery was stunning and the weather good. It was fun and while physically challenging, there's an ease to just moving and not having to think.
Hard and worthwhile: writing my last two weekly essay posts on Substack. Took a lot of mental energy.
Easy and fun: Cooking dinner when I don't need to follow a recipe and it comes out ok
Hard but satisfying: Cooking dinner when I'm following a new a recipe and it comes out ok
Hard and miserable: As above and the food turns out lousy
To your 3rd question, after 17 years of working very hard at an impossible marriage I gave the marriage up. Now life is much easier and more fun. I was like you in terms of hard and difficult. Good news is I’m older than you and you’re already looking at this. It’s partly nurture but it’s also very much nature. People like us have a super power in that some very worthwhile things lie on the other side of not much fun. It’s amazing to be able to tackle stuff. But it’s all about discernment. The ultimate goal should be ease, peace or delight - whatever motivates you. Or sometimes it has to do with integrity which can also bring us satisfaction. We just need to be clear on why we are doing a thing. And is this the right reason. Great post! As ever very well expressed. Oh, and also we are people who like to go deep. Not everyone is like this. It shows in your work.
Yes yes yes to all of this!
One of my favorite phrases: “You can’t un-fun your way into fun.”
I’ve let “What looks fun and easy?” be my guide the last few years and it has yet to let me down!
Of course I may have a strange idea of “fun”...
even answering these questions is scary af for me lol
I invited some friends over to teach them how to do tarot readings and gahhh, it was an afternoon of the most special flow and energy. I've similarly been working on following what feels good and tuning out voices of shame. It's a work in progress, but I appreciate reminders like your piece that I'm on the right track for me. <3
Thought-provoking piece. If one defines “fun” as energizing and enjoyable — I have a couple: one easy and fun, one hard and fun.
Since retiring, I have been consulting with my old department. When they have a complicated scenario, they phone me, and we talk it through, and I give my advice (based on my 27+ years in the work.) It gets my brain working and helps other people. There is no pressure on me; like so many things, it is learning/teaching about how to think about the questions, not trying to arrive at one correct answer.
I also really like doing my taxes!
“This is my kung-fu” (The Core)
I think there are things that drive us, that call to us and while to some they might seem difficult, boring, demanding, some people just glide while doing it.
Have you seen Bob Ross paint stones?
Easy and fun - pouring out my novellas into my ipad
Cumbersome but satisfying- moving and doing all the bureaucracy that comes with it here.
Not good for my life- some relationships, I tried and gave it my best, but I have nothing more left to give.
I’m glad you wrote about this!
I have a complicated relationship with this idea and the ol’ art career. If I’m not having fun and it doesn’t feel easy, the work suffers. Then I constantly feel like I’m not doing things right because there isn’t enough misery involved.
Easy and fun: drawing for myself
Hard and worthwhile: drawing for money
Hard and miserable and giving up for good: saying yes to drawing things out of obligation
“Nothing worthwhile is easy, Ellen.” - Clark Griswald, National Lampoon’s vacation.