Are We Having Fun Yet?

Have you ever wondered how a rainforest-minded (g-g-g-gifted) adult defines play/fun? Perhaps, you’ve been told that you’re too serious or too studious. That you need to lighten up, relax and have more fun. Be more spontaneous and less OCD. And you respond: “I AM having fun. I’m READING!” Then, you get that doubting or disapproving pat on the head.

9441239472_88f67e4164I suspect that you may need help understanding what’s up with that. And you may need help recognizing what constitutes play/fun for you and others like you.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “But I’m not gifted. If I were gifted, I’d be studying string theory for fun and inventing the next electric car or doing something else that’s terribly amazing.”

I hear you. Keep reading.

Here are examples of play/fun from my rainforest-minded clients and friends:

Build a labyrinth in your backyard, read everything ever written on sacred geometry, follow the NASA channel on your iPhone, read the thesaurus, wander aimlessly in nature, research random curiosities, gasp at an ocean sunset, learn lots of stuff, create, notice how light changes at dusk, solve a perplexing problem, analyze your dreams, watch back-to-back episodes of Dr. Who, study string theory.

To name a few.

Then again, some rainforest-minded adults experience play/fun as– any creative endeavor. Painting, cooking, sewing, singing or flower arranging, for example. Or, play/fun is, in general, creating beauty. Making new connections. Or it may even be gazing at beauty.

8065614670_d5752ac024So what do you think? Does this describe you?

What ever play/fun is for you, I’ll bet it’s deep, analytical, layered or complex. Unique and sensitive. Chances are you look below the surface. You search for back stories and biases. Paradoxes and peculiarities. Your version of play/fun may not match that of your relatives, neighbors or friends.

You may be like my 20-something client who is studying anthropology in grad school. She told me that her mother suggested she take a month off from her studies to play at the beach. Her response: “That would be the worst thing ever. I am playing. It just doesn’t look like it. I need to follow my own rabbit trails. That’s where I find my joy.” She loves learning. That’s her play. That’s her fun.

You, too?

I thought so.

The next time someone tells you to lighten up, play and have more fun: Smile. Pat them on the head. And get back to your books, your beauty and your random curiosities.


Note to blogEEs:

Have I mentioned how grateful I am that you’re following my blog?

Just so you know, whenever I refer to clients in a post, it’s with permission. I carefully avoid any identifying information. And one more thing. When I mention love of learning, it’s not the same as love of schooling.

Photos via Creative Commons:




This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop. To read more blogs in this hop, visit

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Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

11 responses to “Are We Having Fun Yet?”

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  1. “If I Admit I Am Gifted, I Will Have To Do Something Great” (A Rainforest Mind In Austria) | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] things to do is explore AI. On her own. For fun. To reassure her, I told her that the definition of fun for an RFM is not the same as for the masses. She was also learning Sanskrit in her spare time and had an […]

  2. Sarah Avatar

    I’m starting from the beginning…reading your posts, I mean.

    I love this one so much. I’ve related to the prior ones as well, but not so much that I felt drawn to leave a comment four years late. I’m the same one who posted something yesterday on the quiz comments…

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, I figured you were the Sarah from yesterday. I’m so glad you’re here. I’ll enjoy seeing the posts that move you the most. You’re not late! The blog is on-going….and the posts are all still relevant. New people are finding it all the time, which is lovely! (I’m going to reread this post now…:))

  3. Gigi Avatar

    Fun for me is found in reading, because the pictures created in my head from the words on the page are so vivid. No movie really competes. . .
    Fun for me is found in handwork: sewing, knitting, cross stitch, because these use common items to create something cool.
    Fun for me is found in cooking, because I get hungry and I get to create something nourishing and delicious.
    Fun for me is found in my garden, where I have indeed researched the background. I am creating a tiny habitat for local wildlife, a microcosm of the original land use by Mother Earth, blended with my own food supply.
    Fun for me can be exhausting to my body, but it refreshes my soul.
    Thanks for giving me the validation to pursue my own type of fun!

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      You’re so welcome, Gigi. Thanks for writing.

  4. Noemi Avatar

    I remember I was maybe 10 years old at our cottage and my next door neighbour, an adult, stopped me as I was on the way to the beach with my towel under one arm and my book under the other. He gravely explained to me that “life does not happen in books.” I’m not sure what he expected from his intervention. He sure looked like he was trying to impart something meaningful to me. It has stuck to me to this day. Sorry to say, I didn’t stop reading. Your post reminded me of this. You get me.

    1. paulaprober Avatar

      I’m so glad that you didn’t stop reading, Noemi!

  5. Jade Rivera Avatar
    Jade Rivera

    Paula, yesterday my guy and I had a funny conversation that made me think of this article. We are going on vacation to Oaxaca at the end of the month. Of course we’re excited to take in the sights and culture, but do you know what we’re really dreamy about? The chance to read for many hours without interruption or obligation! LOL! We know how to party!

    Thank you for another wonderful and empathetic article.


    1. paulaprober Avatar

      Oh yes, Jade, I so understand. Have a grand time reading in Oaxaca with your guy! 🙂 And thanks for writing.

  6. paulaprober Avatar

    Ah, yes. Thanks for adding to the list, Anna.

  7. Anna Avatar

    I research, meditate, create metaphors to dress up what I’m thinking, think about solutions to social problems, post the first witty thing that comes to mind after I read a meme on Fb, read books of wisdom and philosophy, debate (political and philosophical), and play sudoku, word and number search for fun. As for TV, I have to binge watch programs on Netflix or On Demand. I don’t handle commercials too well. I’m easily distracted.

    I wish they would come out with a more sophisticated find the object for adults. I love those! lol The closest I can come to that is 3D Cubes.