The 4 Types of Fun

Having spent the last many years doing outside activities, I have very often come across this thing called type 2 fun. Type 2 fun describes activities that are not the most enjoyable while they are happening but after the fact you realized that you loved it. When I first heard of type 2 fun I obviously wondered what type 1 was, and if there were other types. Well over the years I have developed my own system of the types of fun. I did some research before writing this, and I am not the first person to add a couple more types of fun to the list, but I think my definitions are a bit different.

Type 1:

Fun while you are doing it, fun afterwards. This is just good family fun. Playing with puppies, music concerts, Powder skiing!, hanging out around a bonfire, spending time with loved ones, and countless other things that make you happy.

We all need type 1 fun in our lives, however I have found that too much type 1 fun can often become boring. Type 1 fun keeps you in your comfort zone. Many of the things in life that are the most rewarding are not always fun.

now that's fun!

Pure fun!

Type 2:

Not fun while you are doing it, fun afterwards. Okay, it may not be, totally unfun while you are doing it, but it is certainly very difficult and often you want to stop, but for some unknown reason you keep going. Most physical activity is some level of type 2.

Take running. For me, I start a run and pretty much think about how much longer I have until it is over. There is this weird point 2 hours in where I stop thinking about anything, but mostly, I just want to be done. No matter how much running hurts during, and how much effort it takes to keep going, I never regret going and always feel great afterwards (unless my knees hurt).

Type 2 fun is my favorite type of fun. Things that are type 2 fun are the most rewarding. Skinning is one of my favorite things to do in the whole world (I sure hope so). However, while I am skinning I am often hurting. Maybe I am racing and pushing myself to my limit, gasping for 9,000ft air. Or maybe I am fried from a week of 50,000ft and then waking up at 5 am to go ski some stupid objective that is 4 miles and 4,000ft away. The skin track is a rock solid side hill for those 4 miles –  believe me, i do not like skinning for the first hour of that day. But when I come home that night and I’ve ski 4 runs of Boxelder and 11,000ft, I love skinning and am so happy to be alive!

Pushing through difficult things is how we make our lives better. Weather that is an early morning tour or endless hours of applying to a new job. It is getting past the difficult things that make life worth living.


Type 4: (gonna jump out of order here, bare with me)

Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it is worth it. Some things are not fun while they are happening and not fun afterwards. Type 4 things are often unavoidable realities. Doing your taxes. painting a house (that is not your own), and getting your car inspected. Most things that are type 4 fun are, well not fun, but also they are not going to kill you. The more complicated life gets, the more time you spend doing type 4 fun. Most things that are involve bureaucracies are type 4 fun. I spend a good amount of energy ensuring that my life remains simple and I keep my type 4 fun to a minimum. If my work ever becomes a type 4 fun, that is my life being wasted.


Don’t waste time on type 4 fun. Do it and be done.

Type 3:

Fun while it is happening and not fun afterwards. The best example is a hangover. Getting wasted at a party can be fun, but the hangover and realization that you sent a few regretful texts makes the night out type 3 fun. Type 3 fun is great, but must be taken in moderation. Too much type 3 fun and life starts to become unfun. Most things that are type 3 fun are addicting. I know when I binge watch 5 season of parks and recreation I may not completely regret it, but I am pretty sure I could have done something better with my time, and have a slightly bad taste left in my mouth.

College may have a bit too much type 3 fun.

College may have a bit too much type 3 fun.

I use the types of fun scale as a bit of a guide to life. I enjoy type 1 fun, but don’t necessarily seek it out, as too much can be boring. Type 2 fun is the most enriching. I try to engage in as many activities as I can handle that are difficult and rewarding. Type 3 fun can be great, but I am always wary and make sure I am not getting sucked in to the type 3 spiral. I try to limit type 4 fun activities as much as possible, but when I have to do them, I try to just get them out of the way as quick and painlessly as possible (easier said than done).  

Bonus type 5 fun is watching a sunrise or sunset.


About the author: Aaron

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  1. Marilyn - September 14, 2015 at 5:47 pm Reply

    I have all kinds of fun—I play golf (not that good any more but I still play), play a lot of bridge, pay bills (ugh), and love your style of writing. Keep me on the list. Love, M

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