You know how people always make generic statements about wanting to do something fun? Better yet, they ask at whatever event they find you and ask if you are having fun. Fun is defined in different ways by anyone you ask. Fun for my hubby might include watching a Two and a Half Men marathon in his old ratty fraternity shirt and underwear, with old school Al Green tunes playing on a loop in the background. Fun for my boys might include stuffing their faces at a pizza buffet, then burping the alphabet and going a couple of days without having to shower. My definition of fun varies from day to day, depending on my mood and stress level. When stress is high, I look for quieter activities that give me some alone time, like going for a long slow run and reading a good book on my back patio. On lighter days, I look to do anything that connects me to friends and loved ones, like a Tex-Mex dinner with dessert and margaritas with girlfriends.
Recently, my cousins and I had an all-girls weekend away at a beach condo, leaving kids and hubbies and responsibility behind for a mere 48 hours. I was tired from a killer work week and the threat of a looming thunderstorm made me long for a quiet weekend indoors, clad in my favorite pajamas. However, the weekend with my cousins had been planned for weeks and I did not want to pass up an opportunity to hang out with these ladies I saw too little of already. I have a bad habit of getting lost in my own fog (work, household, etc.) and tend to shy away from anything that gets me off my schedule. Anal? Yeah, just a bit. I come from a family of almost all women, so a family gathering of any sort turns into an automatic hen session and I admittedly don't always play well in those situations. The weekend with my cousins turned into a lighthearted nostalgic visit with women that I grew up with like sisters. We ate seafood and chocolate and drank wine, while watching back-to-back airings of the Sex In The City movies. We stayed up late talking about absolutely nothing of importance, giggly and silly like we had no cares in the world. It was fun. Simple as that...fun. It made realize that I wanted (needed) more of it. So why the hell was I resisting it? What was holding me back?
I wanted to have some fun. It was almost like I had just read a billboard on the side of the highway that said "Fun: Go Out and Have Some". It weighed on me, made me want to schedule it on my Google calendar and then check it off my to-do list. I don't know why having fun suddenly became such a priority. Wait a minute. Yes I do. Fun was something this household had been unable to shamelessly pursue in the last year and a half. So many more serious issues had been pushed to the forefront and our simplest desires had to be squashed because of us being in a perpetual state of survival. We have slowly moved from under that dark cloud as 2012 came to a close. Hubby is enjoying good health and has a new professional opportunity that is something he probably wouldn't have given a second glance if it had not fallen into his lap and demanded his attention. The way his face lit up as he went over the details of his new project was infectious and made me want to harness that lightness in his spirit for later use. As long as this venture continued to have that affect on him, I would continue to support it, no questions asked. He was not seeing it as work, but instead as something fun. He was inspired by it's possibilities and the joy it would bring him. Who am I to argue with that?
I get two glorious weeks of winter vacation every year that allows me time to do all the Christmas shopping and holiday partying that I would ever want to do. Believe it or not, I usually don't party much at all during this time. The colder weather usually draws me indoors to either some TV time or to quiet hours reading cheesy romance novels from some of my favorite authors. Many of the holiday party invites that find their way to us through email or snail mail get declined because I am too tired and lazy to make it out the door. This year was different. Whether it was a simple lunch with girlfriends, a book club gathering or a weekend away with my cousins, I wanted to do it. No lame excuses of being too tired or too busy would suffice. I wanted to get out and have some fun. I wanted the same for my guys, too. Hubby spent time with both friends and extended family in the last few weeks, making such a notable difference in him. He spends so much time on a daily basis worrying about the "what-ifs" of his new reality that I forget what he was like when such heavy issues like health and medications did not burden him so much. He needs some fun, too.
When I do sit down and think of my goals for the new year, the list will be much easier to pen than previous years' lists. It is simple. If it does not bring me or my guys joy, then it won't make it onto my list of priorities. I want a new and more functional kitchen. I want to run more Saturday morning 5K's. I want to sit at Starbucks and sip coffee with my mom. I want to read juicy novels on my back patio. I want to stay surrounded by positive people I really like and dump the negative people that make me stray from my true self. I want to go on weekend road trips and not worry about the laundry pile waiting on me when I return. I want to have more mommy/daddy date nights in the middle of the work week. I want to go to yoga class once a week and actually get better at it. I want to (finally) finish some of my short story ideas, let others read them and get some honest feedback, good or bad. Whew! That list is long, but it all can be done. The things that bring me joy are so simple and attainable, but for the life of me I cannot figure out why these things tend to get pushed to the back burner. If I try harder to get out of my own head and just live for the fun of the moment, then maybe I will get more of these "tasks" accomplished. It might be then when I finally grow into the woman I always thought I could be and might figure out what her purpose in this crazy world is after all. She still has not yet emerged, but I have a feeling she will make her debut soon.