The Difference between Fun and Pleasure

Today’s Photo-A-Day theme is: FUN. And so far this has been the hardest theme, philosophically, for me to wrap my brain around.  I have been trying to figure out the difference between things that are “fun” and things that are just “enjoyable” or “pleasurable.”

Laying around all afternoon reading and making notes in the margins of books is one of my most delicious of pleasures, but I wouldn’t call it “fun.”

When I think of all the things I like to do, (writing and yoga come to mind), I don’t think of these things as “fun” particularly.

They are richly satisfying, enjoyable and engrossing, but there is often a lot of resistance going in. They require discipline. I find the process of trying to articulate an idea really pleasurable, even though it is hard. (And I love having written most of all.) And when I go into my yoga room, I get totally and completely absorbed. But it’s often physically painful and mentally frustrating. (I have been known to cry and howl like an animal on my mat.)  But I never fail to exit my yoga room in total bliss. Practicing yoga daily is  pleasurable, but I would never call it “Fun.”  But last summer I tried Aerial yoga for the first time,–now that was fun! 

Doing unusual yoga is fun

So I think the way I would distinguish fun from pleasure is that fun is novel. Fun takes you out of your routine.

Today I went for a bike ride. It was really fun. But if I was training for a Triathalon and had to get in shape and ride a certain amount of miles per day on my bike to do so, my training might be pleasureable, but it probably wouldn’t be “fun.”

Last summer we went to Colorado and climbed some high mountains. The hikes were rigorous at times, but it was really, really fun.

Climbing high mountains is fun

But If I had to climb high mountains every day in order to get water, for example, mountain climbing would lose its allure.

This summer we did some wine tasting in the Wilamette Valley. I left the winery thinking: “I love wine tasting! Why don’t I do this more often? This is fun!”

Wine tasting is fun

But if I were a vintner and my business involved tasting wine all the time, not so much fun, methinks.

So it’s novelty and the breaking of routine that makes an activity “fun” for me. That’s why it’s so important for me to remind myself to, “Shake it up, Kath! Get out of your rut. Lose the routine. Be spontaneous!”

It’s hard to have fun sometimes.

6 thoughts on “The Difference between Fun and Pleasure

  1. Hi Kath, I was just musing about the difference between pleasure and fun. I’ll google it, I thought. And up came a link to your post, which is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity, and yet profound in its depth. I noticed elsewhere on your site that you love Gretchen Rubin. Me too. Your post reads like it could have been written by her – I hope that comes across as the compliment it is meant to be! Anyway, sorry, this is turning into a weird, gushy ramble. I’m delighted to have found your blog in such a happenstance way and look forward to connecting via more posts in the future. 😀


    1. Liz!
      Thanks for the lovely comment and the follow. It hit at such a good moment for me because I am trying to blow on some dying embers to see if I can get this blog of mine to “catch” again. Your comment was like a little bellows. Thanks! I am going to check out your blog right this very minute! ~Kath

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Kath, that’s lovely to hear. You’ll see from my blog that I have also been posting much less frequently in recent times. Here’s to brighter days ahead, and more things to write about!


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