How To Make Your Own Fun

Neil StraussNeil, New Years

On New Year’s Eve, I had a small epiphany. I went out with some friends, Courtney Love, and a guy named Noel Fielding from a British TV show called The Mighty Boosh, which is like a new-wave Teletubbies for adults. We went to some “glamorous” party on the Paramount Studios lot where the Killers were playing.

And at about 11 p.m., my friends and I looked at each other, looked at all the LA people trying too hard, and said: “This is boring. Let’s get out of here and make our own fun.”

Courtney and Noel invited us to another “glam” party they were going to. But we had a better idea, so we parted company with them. We then drove to my house, grabbed surfboards and wetsuits, and raced to Malibu. Minutes before midnight, we grabbed the boards and ran into the cold, dark ocean. (After my icy ocean dip in Finland, this was a walk in the park.)

We were the only people in the water, and we spent New Year riding waves as fireworks went off overhead. Afterward, we got out of the water and just missed an arriving cop car. Exhilirated, we changed back into our New Year’s Eve clothes on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway as cars whizzed by. Then we went back to my place, partied, laughed, slept, and hung out until the sun went down the next day.

So one of my resolutions for the New Year is to make my own fun–and not to be reliant on anybody else. I’ve made the mistake most New Year’s Eves of trying to go to the best party. Well, a party is just a party. And hugging a bunch of strangers at midnight is not that special. That is why most of us end up dreading New Year’s Eve, because it’s so often anti-climactic. Well, it’s not New Year’s fault, I realized, it’s been my fault. I’ve been trying to glom onto someone ELSE’S fun instead of MAKING MY OWN FUN.

So if you go out and do something new and exciting and different, something that doesn’t depend on any external variable, then you can’t lose. Next New Year, blow off that house party or that expensive champagne table at the big club or that over-crowded firework display downtown. They’re always more fun to say you were at than to actually be at anyway. Instead, at midnight, get some friends together and ride ATVs through the desert or hike to some local monument or ride horses in the park or find the best view of the city or take a night jet-ski run or smoke crack. (That last one’s a joke – unless you have any, of course.)

Now here’s the takeaway: I meet men and women all the time who think of themselves as boring, who believe that they have nothing to say, who don’t know what to do on a date.

This is a problem that can be fixed in ten minutes.

Go to a bookstore. Get to the travel section. Start paging through books like Road Trip USA, Little Museums, Roadfood, New Roadside America, and Off the Beaten Path. Write down five adventures you want to have in the next month. Then, on a free day, plan them with some friends or your one-itis. Why go for coffee with a girl you just met when you can go to a lava bed or a haunted house or a beverage-container museum or an Indian burial ground. If they don’t go with you, then THEY are boring. If they do, then they’re cool and a keeper.

Here’s an even bigger takeaway: I was doing a radio show for Playboy, and the host was hitting on a model. He asked her what she was doing this weekend, and she told him. Then he asked if he could come along. And she politely rebuffed him, saying it was girl’s night out.

He made the mistake of trying to glom onto someone else’s fun. Instead, he should have TOLD her what he was doing that weekend. He could have just said offhand to her: “My friends and I are going to this haunted hotel with a real psychic to look for ghosts.” [No joke: http://www.newlearningfrontier.com/paranormal.html (Editor’s note: This website has been removed since original publication… I blame ghosts.)] Then all you have to do is wait for her to BEG to be included on YOUR adventure.

Make sense?

Looking forward then to an adventurous year with all of you,
Neil