Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Fun Factor


Peloton instructor, Matt Wilpers concludes every workout with the phrase, "Train hard, train smart, and always have fun." Peering back on more than four decades of work life, I ponder the fun factor. To me this encompasses concepts of enjoyment, creativity, interaction, questioning, challenge, and growth. These are key to making something fun from my perspective.

2013 Start - Wes Peck photo
2013, was the inaugural END-SURE, 50k event (Extreme North Dakota-Sandhills Ultra Run Experience). The starting temperature was -10 degrees F. It did not warm too much during that bright, sunny day. After 25 miles, I dropped out. The following year I completed 100k (62 miles) in much better conditions. After that I began working into being the director of the event. Over those years of unpredictable weather, expanded distance options
2022 Event
(25k, 50k, 100k, & 100 miles), numerous participants, COVID-19, dedicated volunteers, off course runners, and hours of no sleep my stint as director has concluded. In short, the fun factor has dwindled. 

I have been involved in various aspects of pastoral care for most of my vocational life. Small and large congregations, short-term interim duties, treatment center and general hospital chaplaincy, on-call crisis response for two rural counties, and specialized consulting have provided enjoyment, challenge, creativity, interaction, questioning, and growth. For the majority of those years, the fun factor has been relatively high. Sure it went up and down, but overall it was engaging. Moving into the final portion of life (as defined by our society), I am reevaluating the fun factor. I sense it is a natural part of life. I connect this pondering to the Eriksonian Developmental Stages. I am by those parameters in, "Ego Integrity vs. Despair." I am grateful for my past. Now, I want to continue exploring life.

Hike scene in Nevada

Writing has held an interest for decades. Whether it was for a class, a presentation, or a publication I have enjoyed painting a picture with words. When I write the text can be edited, word searched, and rearranged much easier than when I speak. I have not been comfortable reading a manuscript in public when I am meant to address and engage a group of people. Thus writing is more creative than speaking, as well as forgiving.

Runners from England

Being outside in all seasons, exploring numerous locations, and using a  variety of modes of movement increases my fun factor. Sounds, landscapes, colors, and even traffic captures my attention and imagination. Opportunities to both watch people, as well as interact with them provides stimulation and insight.  I would rather participate in an event then organize and direct one. Or volunteering and leaving the decisions to another increases the fun factor. I am also comfortable and oftentimes desire being by myself for numerous hours. 

Time has become a special and even a sacred commodity in my life. The ability to set my schedule and minimize interruptions is gaining greater enjoyment. Saying, "No." to the requests which come my way is empowering and freeing. The health conditions which my wife is experiencing provide many unknowns and disruptions. Those are enough in this segment of my life.

It is another part of my journey in life. There are many aspects outside of my control which remain unpredictable. I have no illusions that I can direct the events of my life. However, I can choose how to respond. For today and into the future my response is to maximize the fun factor!

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