Fundamental joys

It’s the first day of 2016. I hope that everyone had a great 2015, and put a great end to the year yesterday.

We spent New Year’s Eve with my wife’s parents at their home in Bursa, a city 3 hours away from Istanbul. There was great food, conversation, and fireworks, but the highlight of the evening for me was our time playing Taboo. Basically it’s a game where you split into teams of at least two people, and each team member takes turns trying to explain a word or phrase to their teammates. The catch is that each word or phrase that you explain comes with 5 other words or phrases that you can’t use as part of your explanation. Using these is taboo and this makes the game challenging and fun.

Playing Taboo reminded me of the simple joy which can come from doing something with no goal other than to have fun. The absence of extrinsic returns to the activity, like money or status, lets you enjoy the intrinsic pleasures of challenging yourself, teamwork, and creativity.

Whatever it is you do in 2016, I hope that you find in it these same fundamental joys. They are what make doing it worthwhile.