Rethinking Whimsy


Do you know this word?

It sounds a bit weak to my ears. It does not have the gravity I generally like in my language. In my mind’s eye, I imagine fluffy clouds and sparkles and frilly, fruffy things.

And yet, I am coming to suspect, I need a bit more whimsy in my world.

Something to balance against the deadlines and structure and immediacy. Something to come alongside urgency and responsibility and strategic planning. Something that stands up in the middle of the meetings and the crush and the seriousness and declares in Monty Python fashion, “And now for something COMPLETELY different!”

Something different certainly seems in order as I recognize I’ve been running low on creativity and wonder and spontaneity. But why and what to do about it have alluded me.

Could the answer lie in recovering/discovering the freedom of whimsy?

Let me be clear, it is not that I don’t have regular time of unwinding, unplugging and generally goofing off, but I’m thinking of whimsy as more than silliness for silliness’ sake (also a worthwhile pursuit).

Whimsy, or more accurately, the exploration of whimsy, is to connect with that which on the surface appears to provide no utility or serve any purpose. It is to allow that which lies beyond our comfort zones and agendas and tidy plans to exist and be appreciated.

It is to see and experience those bits of the world we don’t usually consider important or powerful.

And that is why I want more whimsy. To live again the way I did as a child, when everything didn’t have to directly advance my skills, abilities, talents. When everything didn’t have to fit into the puzzle or become a stepping stone.

No, once upon a time, I could just be in a moment. I could just let myself dream and laugh and play. There was a time when the “agenda” was joy and love and peace. (“Boo hoo, another man refusing to grow up is lamenting being an adult.” A little bit, yes. But it’s so much more…)

So, maybe the “goal” of today is to have a bit of unscripted fun, to go with the flow, to find ourselves in some unusual place, doing something we’ve never done before.

If it’s silly and makes us laugh, all the better!

No evaluations. No judgement. No purpose. Just do the crazy, wild, weird thing you’ve been pushing to the back of your life. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunity for you to evaluate, judge and determine its purpose later. For now, embrace the whimsy and if you’re feeling especially adventurous, invite a friend to do it with you.

Some possibilities:

  • make something that’s only purpose is to illicit the response, “what is that?”
  • buy and wear some crazy socks to the interview
  • write a letter to yourself from the perspective of your favorite shoes
  • eat nothing but orange food for an entire day
  • walk up to a complete stranger and ask them to tell you a joke

Have an idea for some whimsy? Share it in the comments.

Life is better together,

3 thoughts on “Rethinking Whimsy

  1. A little whimsy from my family’s walk this morning shared with me viaText messages received this morning:
    Greg: There was a beetle that was rolling poop!
    Greg: 20 x its size
    Greg: It was Andrew
    Alana: Andrew was rolling poop?
    Greg: It wasn’t Andrew it was the beetle.
    Greg: This is Andrew!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I felt a similar longing this weekend. Tears formed in my eyes as a familiar overture filled my ears. Jurassic World took me back to a time I had been missing, one of wonder and whimsy. I felt slightly silly, and everything about that feeling was good.

    Liked by 1 person

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