Friday, January 14, 2011

And We'll Have Fun, Fun, Fun...

...till Daddy takes the T-Bird away.  Actually, for us, having the second child took the T-Bird away.  No way were TWO car seats gonna fit in there.  But since my pretty, red 1985 T-Bird - after morphing through a series of "family friendly" vehicles over the past twenty years - has now been replaced with our empty nest toy, a shiny blue Mustang, I'm mostly over it.  Besides, today's topic is not cars, or even Beach Boys music, but "fun".

Twice in the past few weeks I've heard people lamenting the lack of "fun" in their lives.  First was my college-freshman daughter who was unsure of her college choice because it wasn't as "fun" as she thought it would be.   Of course it hurts my heart just a bit any time life isn't all aces for one of my kids and I'm still having some restless moments of worry for her.  But, for the most part, I dismissed this as end-of-the-semester stress and fear of the future - that she was remembering only the ex-roommate conflicts, car break downs, and homesickness, and fearing the new semester with a new roommate and new challenges. Then she said, "It's sad when the only fun you have at school is sitting in your dorm room with your roommate."  (This is her "twin" roommate who, sadly, isn't returning to KSU next semester; not the crazy, kleptomaniac one.)  Now, we both know she had fun at other times, but a question began to buzz like a mosquito in my brain.  What is "fun"?

A few days later, the ever inspiring Molly at My Cozy Book Nook posted about the ongoing scuffle between what we "should" be doing and what we "want" to be doing.  Her thoughts are considerably deeper than that paraphrase and worth your time to read.  Actually, they'll probably be the basis of another post here in a couple days, but the line that got that mosquito thought buzzing again was "I don't want to change who I am --- I just want to learn to enjoy who I am.  I want to have some fun in life."

So, I went in search of the fun in my life. My first thoughts were related to holidays and special occasions when we travel to concerts, plays, sporting events, or to visit the kids/grandkids/extended-family.  We even take occasional vacations to new and exotic locales.  Most would agree that THAT is fun!

But those times are the exceptions.  What about the average weekend?  Well, weather permitting, we might play golf or go water-skiing (that's just fun for Dave, not for women with aversions to heat, bugs and large bodies of water) then in the evening, build a fire in the chiminea and sit on the porch with friends and neighbors for a beer, conversation and s'mores.  In the colder months, we go to movies, watch the Cats or the Broncos/Cowboys on tv, eat meals in places where we don't have to do the dishes, or have friends over for hilarious games of "Apples to Apples".  However, we might also mow the yard, take the dogs to be groomed, repaint the bathroom, pay bills, and grocery shop.  Did the mundane outweigh the fun?

How about weekdays?  In a typical work day, I get up around 7:00 a.m. to be at work by 9:00.  Living four blocks from my job, and having my hair and make-up routine refined to the minimum, actual prep time is thirty minutes, but I don't wake up as quickly as I used to, so the other 90 minutes is for coffee and zombie impersonations.  I spend eight hours working at a job I love.  If our lunch breaks coincide, Dave and I usually work on a crossword puzzle together while we grab a sandwich.  After work I return home to make supper and do a little laundry or housework, mixed with DVR episodes of Jeopardy, reading, sewing and chatting with Dave.  That's just life - but is it fun?

I believe our daughter was referring to her former high-school lifestyle - spending the entire day with a group of friends, many privileges and few responsibilities - as compared to her new college life which requires more effort and accountability, when she was mourning the lack of fun.  Molly, on the other hand, knows full well the obligations of adulthood.  She wasn't asking to return to a carefree youth, but only, perhaps, to find more pleasure in the day-to-day.  When given a "snow day" from work, she filled the time with some activities she rarely had enough time for, but found herself continually hurrying on to the next thing, trying to be efficient. (Again, I encourage you to read her entire post, because I'm not even close to doing it justice.)  In her own words, "At the end of the day, I initially felt as though I had accomplished little, when in fact I had accomplished much but enjoyed little."  

And therein lies the answer, I think.  "Fun", as it applies to daily, responsible-adult living, is not about being constantly carefree and pampered.  It's about a positive attitude towards the mundane and predictable, and focusing fully on the rest.  Now, there is absolutely no way I'm ever going to enjoy mowing the lawn, but a cold drink and a book on the porch swing afterwards is fun.


  1. Actually, I think your post is quite eloquent and very thought provoking :)

    I wanted to update you on my week. I DID have fun! I actually started scrapbooking - first time in nearly four years - and I have completed 8 pages so far. Works of art? NO. Expression of me? YES.

    I am still pondering the idea of adding more fun in my life and I am committed to finding the joy in mundane :)

    I hope you have a GREAT weekend!!!

  2. Fun sneaked up and surprised me recently. I was grousing about only having a short time in the US with my family and having to return to work a children's camp. It has turned out to be fun! This crop of elementary and middle schoolers is sweet and smart and fun. I look forward to going in every day.

  3. Goal #1 should be to love what you do - since we spend the majority of our time at work. You are very lucky to have a job that you enjoy very much.

    Goal #2 should be to set aside time each week for being lazy, being adventurous or being spoiled. Whatever it is that you consider to be enjoyable at that moment. It helps to offset the mundane but required moments.

    I am trying to transition more into doing what I love for work. And every week I find something fun to do. Last night for example I spent the entire evening with a cat on my lap, the TV off, and the book that you kindly sent to me opened up all shiny and new, luxuriously flipping through each page of photos and stories. It was all "me" time and I loved every minute of it.

  4. Very well stated, Tami, by you and the other commenters. One thing we all have to learn as we become adults is that our life is what WE make of it, even when not-so-nice things happen to us. There is always a blessing or two that we can find when we are counting our blessings.