Back in the day, I was known as Fun Girl. I knew how to have a good time, and found my fun no matter where I was.
I spent a lot of time in the clubs, the ones that went well beyond sunrise. It was me and a group of friends dressed up in our fishnets and skull boots who danced our hearts out to a killer DJ throwing down fresh beats, that became my biggest source of entertainment.
But there were also more everyday experiences that escalated into a load of laughs – like hanging out at Great Falls by the rocks then jumping into the C&O Canal for an evening swim. Or climbing up the flagpole of the high school just to see if it could be done. On one New Year’s Eve, I even came up with a little song titled Having A Good Time and got the entire party to sing along with me.
These were carefree days so everything felt like play. Until something happened…
I became a mom. Twice. Then the pendulum swung to the opposite side of fun, taking the word carefree with it along the way.
Don’t get me wrong, having children was monumental. Motherhood impacted my mind, body and soul in ways I’d never conceived to be possible. But was being a new mom fun? No. It was exhausting. And who thinks about having fun when they’re so bloody tired?! Not I.
Eventually, playtime resumed in my house. Though when it reemerged, it was centered around things like Beyblades and Barbies. I know there are moms who adore getting down on the floor for hours with their kids to play, and I am always so impressed with their stamina. While I did join in on our household play, it was more about my devotion to them vs getting into the game. Sweet? Yes. Fun? No.
It took years before I finally found my way back to fun again. There was a lot of soul searching (i.e. meditation and journaling) along with some trial and error (i.e. boring nights out) to get in touch with myself, and discern what this “new me” deemed enjoyable. My definition for playtime had done a complete 180. Clubbing was out of the question. As were all the reckless activities I so often turned to in my twenties. I tried to revel in simple pleasures like going for ice-cream with the kids and meaningful moments, like enjoying cuddles on the couch, but that didn’t replace my yearning for a fucking good time.
You know, those times when you feel like there’s not a care in the world and everything converges around This-Is-Awesome! I missed that kind of fun.
Ultimately, Fun Me was rediscovered by returning to my roots – to the things I’ve always loved: dancing and music. I found 5Rhythms classes where I was able to self-express as if I was in the club except I could be back in time to put the kids to bed. Also playing music at home helped. Once my toddlers got past obsessing over The Wheels On The Bus, I could introduce them to The Beatles and Sly and The Family Stone, and we could jam out together.
Obviously not every moment provides an opportunity to play, which is part of the reason I now value it in a different way. These days along with fulfilling a good time, fun must feed my soul.
If you struggle with adult playtime, here are three tips to help find the fun (and feed your soul in the process):
You never know when there’s a dance party waiting to happen. In-between tasks at your desk? Pump up Beyoncé on Spotify. Even better if others see you letting loose — fun is contagious! Create a playlist with all your faves that’s easy to access so you can groove out whenever you can. Don’t like dancing? Then sing along at the top of your lungs. (Again, even better if others hear you!) Or keep it simple with head bobbing. Regardless, let the music fill you up. Feel it move through your body so it reaches your soul. Then it’ll transform into fun.
BE AROUND CHILDREN
See if you can find time to hang out with your kids (or your niece, nephew or neighbor) when you aren’t stressed, and can relax into their vibe. Kids live in the present which is the key to fun. They’re driven by their curiosity and sense of wonder. Also they turn everything into a game. So something as basic as walking to the corner turns into who can take the least amount of steps to get there. Or a race to see who can skip there first. Okay, this may not be a fucking good time. But it’ll certainly bring you closer to fun than staring at your phone while you walk to the corner.
STOP TRYING SO HARD ALL THE TIME
Take a break from the 24/7 focus on success in everything you do, and lighten up! Instead of hovering over your keyboard with your kale salad each day, meet a friend for lunch at that cute cafe nearby. Be spontaneous! Get outside. Do something new. Sometimes the best way to fun is to shake up everything you think you know. If that means blowing off an entire day at Disneyland — give it a go! Do whatever it takes to break free from the pressure of perfection. Give yourself time to stop thinking and start living so you can get out of your head and express your soul. This is the way to fun.
I’d love to learn how you have fun. Feel free to share in the comments below!