By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
 Copyright © 1997-2010
All Rights Reserved



 Whee! This is fun!! What does that encompass?

      The range of fun includes a low of – anything that doesn’t hurt – to a high of sexual climax (amongst normal people). Going to restaurants and bars; riding your motorcycle cross country for thousands of miles a year; participating in sports and attending sports and other entertainment events; kissing and touching girls and boys (depending upon your inclinations); actual sexual intimacy with girls and boys; and everything in between.

      If that is fun, what is excitement? I believe that is one of the most misunderstood distinctions in human understanding. To me there are large and critical differences between fun and excitement that are lost in conceptual sloppiness. Because of the misunderstandings produced by that sloppiness, many aspects of life that could better be dealt with are needlessly ruined and lost – many of these are also critical life decisions that go awry in the process.

      Of one thing I am certain. Excitement is really quite different from fun – orders of magnitude different. The problem people have with this distinction – which I myself had for many years until the comprehension born of experience and age made me aware of it – is that excitement doesn’t begin in life until much later in the normal course. What occurs when we are younger that is unusual and highly rewarding in one way or another is thought of as exciting, and linguistically treated as being excitement, when it is in reality just plain old garden variety fun.

      I have come to believe that none of our experiences of early years are anything more than fun. Even things like jumping out of airplanes, while raising the surges of adrenaline, are just extremes of fun. Danger can be fun in this context. Yet even that becomes less exhilarating as it is more frequently done. The trooper doesn’t get the same rush the 50th time he goes out the door that he did in jump school.
      What then is excitement, and how does it play out its role in our lives? What should our expectations about excitement be in order for us not to become very frustrated when the extraordinary becomes more mundane? That is the answer that I believe most people in interpersonal conflict need to appreciate. Sorrowfully, the issue almost never arises until the malaise is already there and relationships are about to dissolve, much to the detriment of others who had no part in bringing about the circumstances of this day, this moment, this sad situation.

      “The excitement just isn’t there between us anymore.” That’s the point at which this comprehension problem arises.

      My point of departure in this discussion is that there is often a substantial lapse between fun and excitement. Fun becomes ordinary and expected. It is taken for granted. It isn’t new anymore. Been there, done that. Now what? Make me happy. Show me the fun. Isn’t that a tad puerile? Yes. But it is usually the way fun stops being fun and the people looking for constant/continued fun wonder what happened in their relationship.

      I suggest you consider the proposition that the difference between fun and excitement is that fun is exhilarating whilst excitement is fulfilling. Things that exhilarate do so without any requirement of post hoc reward. That includes riding your new bike as a child all the way through getting sex, getting married and having a baby. It is not until the fulfillment occurs that excitement can begin, often a course of many years in between the event and the onset of the realization that something fundamentally wonderful is occurring that is not the product of something I just did a short while ago.

      And so, the expression, “there’s no excitement anymore in our relationship” really means that the fun and exhilaration may be quite diminished. Anyone who thinks that fun endures needs to rethink maturity. Fun is transient by definition. You have to purchase excitement with dedication to the growth of the potential that inheres in relationships.

      You purchase relational excitement with devotion and loyalty. To be sure, it has to be bilateral. Without both being devoted and committed so that there is bilateral psychic consideration flowing back and forth between you over substantial time, sufficient to engender a belief in permanency (as opposed to a pledge of permanency), excitement – agape – won’t be brought to fruition. Excitement is the essence of agape. It is the product of sacrificial love. Erotic love is fun. Agape/sacrificial love over substantial time provides the excitement of fulfillment.

      An excellent way to illustrate the principle is that getting married is fun. You become a celebrity for a few weeks. You take trips and attend frequent social events. You are celebrated for a while. That’s just fun.

      The decision to marry is a statement of intent to make the investment requisite to eventual excitement.

      Then comes the onset of the opportunity to demonstrate that you are capable of making the psychic investment that may one day, if you are also lucky, begin to produce excitement, the return on your great investment.

      The decision to have children is just a beginning in the process of making that investment. Providing a stable, supportive, loving/ nurturing family over the time of the growth of your children is part of that investment. The excitement only comes when the child develops into an accomplisher of things worthwhile due to your contribution of all the psychic gifts you bestowed upon it coupled with its genetic talents and resources.

      The child earns a place of recognition based upon superior performance – high school, college, professional school, entering upon its own life union. Your fortunate ability to be there and participate in the successes of your children is when the excitement starts. The dividends of your years of psychic investment in your marriage (when possible) and in your children represent the future value that you may some day realize by being present at its happenings.

      If you are unable to make this distinction, and to accept the devotion you receive from your life partner and the hope of future reward as just consideration for your sacrifice over time, then your excitement, when/if it comes will be greatly diminished. You can’t share real excitement except with the person whose participation with you over the years made the excitement a real potential. If you are not together when it happens in your life, you will only know a diminished reward. You may find temporal happiness elsewhere. Some do and most do not. But the excitement that fundamentally thrills beyond any present tense comprehension won’t be in your picture. This I know, and greatly regret.

      I wouldn’t trade what I have now. I have now what I hoped to have then, but didn’t.


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Copyright © 1997-2010, Seamus Muldoon