Add whimsy

Much of time starts to seem the same after a while. We get up, eat breakfast, work, finish work, do our evening routines, go to bed. Days blend into each other. This is especially true during pandemic times when many normal sources of novelty are less available.

But “less available” doesn’t mean “completely unavailable.” I’ve been emphasizing the idea of continuing to plan one big adventure and one little adventure into every week. Another way to make time more memorable? Add an element of whimsy — which might be doable, whatever else is.

Whimsy is defined as “playfully quaint or fanciful behavior or humor.” I think the playful part is key.

So on Valentine’s Day, we had pink, heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Continuing with this theme, we got tickets for the Franklin Institute in the afternoon and walked through the giant heart. During normal times, the route through this two-story model is claustrophobic, but with strict museum attendance limits and a traffic-light system, it was a far more enjoyable experience. And now we remember, “oh yes, on Valentine’s Day, we walked through a giant heart…”

I’ve been pondering future ideas for adding whimsy to the calendar. Funny breakfasts are always good — as is having breakfast for dinner if that’s not something you do frequently. We ate at a buffet once where bananas had been shaped into dolphins with blueberry eyes. Online, I saw the suggestion of painting your nails a fun color. I’d start with toenails, but with so many people working from home, maybe fingernails could go green for Saint Patrick’s Day or some such. Coffee might be more fun in a purposefully silly mug. I like the idea of Zoom scavenger hunts where people go and find “something that makes you smile” or “something older than you are.” A walk in the woods can become a scavenger hunt too (find something yellow…pretty hard in winter!). Put a garden gnome outside the window you see while working from home. Then move it around or assign others to move it. Matching family pajamas or matching silly slippers (easier to wear all day) can qualify as whimsical. A MadLib or two gets at the same silliness. Sometimes acrostic poems can too (bonus: really easy to write). Blow bubbles in winter. One study investigating the effects of whimsy had participants eat popcorn with chopsticks. Turns out they enjoyed it more!

In any case, the point is to think up something a little different than the norm, or something a little silly. Whimsy doesn’t change much, but it doesn’t need to. Anything out of the ordinary stands out.

What elements of whimsy have you added to your life?

19 thoughts on “Add whimsy

  1. This is a fun post! Recently to add pandemic-friendly whimsy I have been buying the weird fruits at the grocery store so we can try them (starfruit has been the favorite so far).

  2. Flying wish paper was added to my life. I sent pieces of flying wish paper with platforms and instructions to my family and friends in their Christmas cards. It is fun to occasionally make a wish, light it, and send it out into the universe.

  3. Decided to eat my lunch with chopsticks. Makes me eat slower and enjoy my lunch more. Not whimsy but maybe a closer step to it than a fork.

  4. I have been reading a lot of interesting facts about countries as part of project I’m working on. It gave me so many entertaining points to share on the dinner table. Like did you know that the Japanese were the inventors of Rock, Paper, Scissors game? And then we end play a round of it 😉

  5. I walked through the giant heart at Franklin Institute when I was three or four years old, and still remember it clearly 40+ years later! Goes to show you how doing something unusual sticks with you through the years.

  6. Our kids really enjoyed trying “Miracle Berry” (ordered off of Amazon) and then trying different fruits and candy. We even ended up sending some to friends and family.

  7. I had really been feeling the lack of “things to look forward to” and overall rhythm markers in our week. So, our family has been conducting a Tuesday night pizza challenge. Tuesday because the weekend isn’t yet in sight, and pizza because….PIZZA! My kids researched the top-rated pizza places in Toronto, created a rating chart with different criteria, and now, every Tuesday, we try and rate a different joint. I’ve been chronicling our taste-test on social media and friends and family are sharing their recommendations and say they look forward to our weekly posts.

  8. Is this whimsy? We have had a few birdfeeders but I’m treating myself to one that sticks on a window in the hopes that they will come really close to our house.

    We’ve also started trying to have “Monday Funday Nights” because Mondays can be hard… it’s simple – a fun beverage for all and some sort of activity: playing a game, sledding, walk, craft, etc.

  9. We hadn’t left the house for a while so on a whim went and got chocolate milkshakes on a random weeknight from a fast food restaurant. Easy and made for an exciting treat! Also been trying new classes for kids on (LEGO, make a worm farm) and Airbnb experiences (mezcal recently, ramen tomorrow) to add some fun.

  10. We have added whimsy into our life by participating in some of the national food “holidays”. Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat ice cream for breakfast? National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day was Feb 6th! I have the list for the upcoming month in my day planner and only mention the “holiday” to the kids a few days in advance, for the ones that I know they will enjoy that I already have all the groceries to pull off.

    1. @Heike- wow, thanks for the food holiday link! I’ve already put several on the calendar for upcoming days. I’m pretty sure my family can get behind International Waffle Day and National Pretzel Day…

  11. I get it. Trying to keep things positive and bring magic to my 8 and 3 year old. Dave took all their ball pit balls and tossed them into the hot tub for an unusual experience. We turned the front yard into floor is lava by bringing out furniture outside. Our elf on the shelf has made a comeback and we dyed our hair rainbow.

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