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Updated: Jun 21, 2019

Author: David Norris PhD

When I was in grammar school, my family moved from town to the Catsburg community in northern Durham County. We were in the “country”, dirt roads and all. At that time, the area was undeveloped and was mostly unmanaged forest and small farms. There were creeks, huge boulders, a railroad track with steam locomotives, a country store that bought drink bottles for 2 cents each and sold 12-ounce Pepsi Colas for 6 cents. My one friend at that time, Don, lived near the end of our road. And I would bike the mile or so down to his house whenever he was allowed to play.

Life was not too easy for either of us at that time. But when we could, we would head to the woods behind his farm and enter our own world. We could explore, fish in the creek, build dams, capture frogs, salamanders, turtles, and craw fish and hunt squirrels with his 22-caliber rifle. There were a number of sheds and buildings on the farm. Each one had its treasures that could be turned into projects without interference from parents.

We would be fully engaged in one of our carefree adventures when Don would suddenly stop and holler, “Dave, are we having fun?” My usual reply was “Heck Yeah, Don! We’re having fun now!” Sometimes the answer was “Yeah, but let’s go blow something up” which was the signal to head for the shed to steal some black powder and a foot of fuse cord. We destroyed a lot of our creek dams and forts, but we never discovered the gold and diamonds we knew were just under the next big rock.

I haven’t seen Don for sixty years or so, but his spirit and his words, “Dave, are we having fun?” comes into my head several times a day. He and I, like most kids discovered the secret to being fully engaged and alive, if only for a few hours at a time in the woods behind his farm.

When I am privileged to work with a new coaching client, I usually ask them to reflect on times when they were fully engaged and living in the moment; Times when they were fully alive. Those experiences can give guidance in reclaiming ourselves and finding our life passions. Our life is a gift, and it seems to me that we want to enjoy that most precious gift to the fullest by spending a much time as possible being who we are, and not who we ought to be or should be. I have not forgotten Don’s question. I ask myself all the time, “Dave, are we having fun?”. If the answer is not “Heck yeah, Don” then it may be time to get crazy and blow something up.

I work for Resonance NC and we are in the business of helping people rediscover their sweet spot. Check out our website at and come in, or call for a no cost chat to see if we can make it happen for you.

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