by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Perhaps you’re among the three million people who watched the YouTube video of the piano stairs. Volkswagen has initiated the fun theory which asserts that fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. And there’s a contest currently underway exploring such questions as “Can fun make more people exercise?” or “Is entertainment the solution to litter?” (

I wasn’t surprised that turning stairs into a life-size piano resulted in more people taking the stairs rather than the escalator. I would definitely choose the musical option as the fun way to go.

What’ your idea of fun?

This is the question I recently asked several friends and family members. Everyone defined fun a bit differently. However, the idea of fun people most often noted is time spent with family, friends or a spouse.

There were two overwhelming commonalities for having fun — being outdoors and being outdoors doing some physical activity. So maybe fun is already making people exercise more. Folks noted “fun” as taking a walk, watching a sunset, water skiing, horseback riding, watching or playing baseball or ice hockey, attending a football game, swimming, gardening, going for a long run, sitting on the creek bank fishing, climbing a mountain, having a picnic when it’s sweater weather, and sitting out on the patio late at night with the tiki torches lit and a fire in the chiminea. The latter sounds like my kind of fun!

There were other fun ideas that didn’t necessarily require being outdoors, but they did require getting out of the house. This kind of fun was described as going out to dinner, shopping for shoes, attending live music concerts, visiting cool architectural spaces, exploring art exhibits and going country western dancing. I think my first vote of a fun pastime would be shopping for shoes, with going out to dinner a close second!

But apparently many people also have fun inside the comfort of their homes and sometimes even when they are alone. Folks mentioned such merriments as cooking, taking a Sunday afternoon nap, reading a good book, dancing when no one else is watching, playing with kittens and puppies, surfing the web, exploring spiritual truths to their depth as well as cooking and doing artwork with grandchildren. These all sound good to me, but I don’t have grandchildren yet. I certainly always loved cooking and doing artwork with my daughter throughout her growing up years.

One friend mentioned the excitement she feels every time she sees the beach. The exhilaration and jubilation is mutual, my friend!

Another mentioned traveling and cruising with friends as her idea of enjoyment. Sounds fun to me!

I was captured by the idea one friend shared: “Doing new things but not quite the “jump off the cliff in my wing suit” level.” Did you see that YouTube video? I’m quite sure I’m not ready to take flight in a wing suit, but I do love the idea of doing new things and traveling to new places as a preferred choice of recreation and amusement. Or as another friend said it, “Doing something unusual that’s not part of my daily routine — letting go of inhibitions.”

A couple of friends shared some ideas of fun which may best describe my current longing. One said, “Laughing so hard that tears roll down my cheeks.” And yet another friend summed up fun as “Anything that gets me to stop thinking and just ‘be’ — shopping, singing, dancing, laughing, or any combination of those.”

Sometimes I think too much about everything that’s going on in my life or a family member’s life or what’s on the news. And I want to stop thinking and just have fun the way I do when I’m at Disneyworld!

But one very wise friend reminded me that there is always joy to be found in everything. And she’s right. Thanks for the reminder. A change in my point of view has often changed my outlook from drudgery to joy.

The idea of having fun may sometimes seem far away, unreachable or unattainable. But I think this could be due to a limited view of what having fun means or under what conditions that fun is supposed to happen. Perhaps we need to broaden and expand our definition. My friends and family members have certainly given me more possibilities of fun to consider. And hopefully, you’ll find their list helpful as well.

And finally in the words of yet another thoughtful friend — “May we all find a little fun whenever we need it.” Or maybe — we could make our own fun by imagining our favorite song playing while we dance up the stairs.