The Fun Deck

Awakening the senses this time of year can be fruitful and sometimes necessary. The default for this time of year is to go into hibernation mode.  It is totally tempting to desensitize to the world around us and plod through these days.  While last week’s focus was on physically waking up in the morning, this week’s focus is another twist on waking up – awakening the senses.

There is a tradition my husband and I try to keep up month by month (although not always) called the fun deck.  We learned about this concept at a family retreat where the speaker described a great way to consistently plan outings for ourselves as couples.  Giving a new name and planning process to what amounts to be a monthly date night made it sound fun, and we committed to trying to create our own fun deck.  Our fun deck journey started in December of 2017 with a painting class, and has continued off and on through the years. 

The concept is simple; execution is a challenge with all the distractions of everyday life.  We try our best, but allow for missing here and there.  The speaker proposed using an actual deck of cards, but we opted for modernizing into using a shared list on the AnyList app.  Basically, we each add to a shared list with fun outings we would like to go on.  The list can be super long or short, but needs to have at least three contributions from each person.  At the beginning of each month, one partner is given either the turn of ranking the top 3 outings or given the responsibility of picking and planning the outing.  Each month the role changes back and forth.  For one person, it’s the easy job or “their month” to choose the top three.  Once that is done and communicated, the other person gets to select from the top three which one to plan.  This can involve as little as making a dinner reservation or it can be more elaborate like buying tickets to a concert.  Either way, the one responsibility that is required is booking the babysitter.  The planner does all the planning.  It is kind of a service or gift to the other person.  

This may seem like an easy process or tradition, but believe me, it can fall by the wayside easily, too.  It takes effort not only at the selection and planning stage, but also at the getting out of the house stage.  Overall though, the net result is positive:  engaging, connecting, wonderful, and lots of times: educational!  I think the speaker at the retreat meant for it to be a way for couples to reconnect with each other and feel like they were back to their days of dating.  What I have found is that it is that and more.  I feel like we have chosen some really great outings that have been growing experiences and things that we might not have ever tried before.  

In addition, all the senses are awakened by going on the planned outing.  And this time of year that is absolutely necessary.  Recently, my husband chose his top three outings.  I selected going to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra so I bought tickets and asked where he’d like to go for dinner.  What was great about this whole night was that we were back in Chicago, which is a joy in itself, seeing the sights of the city and enjoying the change of landscape.  Sense of sight: check.

Next, we ate at a restaurant that we surprisingly had never been to before in all our years of living in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.  We ordered so many foods filled with spices we wouldn’t normally have that our senses of taste and smell were overrun with deliciousness.  Senses of taste and smell:  check, check.

After dinner, we headed to the symphony.  We ran in the cold down the block, freezing outside as we waited to have our vaccination cards checked and tickets scanned.  I felt the wind cutting through my tights and new dress.  I was ever so thankful to sit in the super warm upper balcony and relax back into the soft, velvet seats.  Sense of touch: check.

Finally, we sat back and listened to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  We were filled with joy as they played so beautifully for the first time since the pandemic one of the most famous symphonies in the world: Beethoven’s 5th.  My ears were filled with such gorgeous sounds.  In moments like that, I literally think to myself, thank you God for my ability to hear.  The overpowering beauty of all the instruments played together with such precision is one of the heights of this gift from God.  Sense of hearing: check.

The fun deck is great any time of year, but I realized this month that it is especially important and beautiful this time of year.  The five senses were all hit in this fun deck, and I wondered is that why the fun deck is so great?  Try it and see if you agree.

©  2022 Megan Davia Mikhail  

%d bloggers like this: