A couple of nights ago while making spaghetti (which is actually concocted with penne noodles at my house in an attempt to reduce the amount spilled on my kitchen table...but, I digress) my family did the cupid shuffle and free-styled to some old-school Ludacris (for those of you that just gasped at our music selection--don’t worry it was edited). In the middle of our boogie nights rendition I realized something profound and yet utterly simple...I was having fun.
Fun is something that has been absent from my life in recent years. Sure, there have been times of accomplishment, tears of joy over new babies and new jobs, family birthdays, church potlucks, and a slew of other enjoyable activities. But, the undertones hidden beneath all of these activities were ones of striving, hard work, distraction, unfulfilled to-do lists and God-forbid “hostess syndrome.” However, over the last 9 months as we have slowly changed our priorities, said no more than yes, focused on what is important rather than trivialities, and opened our heart to new experiences and new people...I’ve found that I have arrived in a place of contentment, a place where fun is no longer a stranger to our everyday lives. A place where fun is no longer a 4-letter word.
These days fun looks like…
Planning a spontaneous overnight trip with my tribe to hear my favorite author speak, eating Paleo donuts and painting pottery
Getting ink’d with a wrist tattoo at the age of 35 to represent a mindset change that will guide the rest of my life
Going on our first whole extended family vacation and seeing people for who they are rather than who you presumed them to be
Hiking through caves, kayaking, riding horses and exploring the outdoors
Drinking a glass of wine with my husband on the front porch of a secluded lake house while sharing favorite memories to celebrate 15 years of marriage
Intentionally planning time in my schedule to read, write and create just because
Riding roller coasters (even if it makes me nauseous)
Splashing in a wave pool with a toddler
Meeting with a group of women on a weekly basis to encourage each other to live the life in which God created us and prove that the best of friends don’t have to be the oldest ones
Serving my community by investing time and resources into people who live totally different than me
Upgrading our bedding to resemble luxurious hotel accommodations and then convincing my husband to break it in on a lazy Saturday afternoon
Gathering around a kitchen table with an amazing group of men and women to talk about improving our leadership skills and brainstorming for the future
Wearing funky props in a photo booth to document life’s milestones
Late night card games with my kids
Singing at the top of my lungs for an audience of one
Taking up calligraphy, knitting and trying my hand at making homemade soap (bless my SIL’s heart for putting up with me and my “ideas”)
Attending concerts in the rain
Finally fulfilling my husbands fantasy of bowfishing together at night while simultaneously eating ALL of the bugs in Western Kentucky
Becoming the cheerleader rather than the one always being cheered for
Overusing my amazingly awesome Bitmoji in group text conversations
Eating Thai food and gaining clarity about the past through a friendship reunion
While some of the bulleted items above may have cost money, the biggest cost to me is my “to-do” list. Want to know what I have done less of the last few months? Getting all the THINGS done. I have forgotten work appointments; waited a whole 24 hours before responding to email; washed both my whites, colors AND towels together to save time; and actually allowed another sports mom to transport my child to and from practice even at the possibility of it making me look and feel like a “bad mom.” And want to know what I found out? The world doesn’t fall apart. I’m allowed to have fun. I am allowed to enjoy my life. I am allowed to put myself first sometimes. I am allowed to enjoy an entire cup of coffee with creamer without interruptions. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” And since he made the world and all these people walking around on it I figure that there is a lot of good to explore and enjoy.
If someone would have asked me a year ago if I was living life to the fullest I would have commented with an enthusiastic “yes” and begrudgingly mumbled under my breath “how could I make it any more full? I don’t have any more time or room for anything else...of course I’m living life to the fullest.” But, I had no idea what I was missing out on. For those of you longing to make the transition from CRAZY to Content (see what I did there? Even font has the ability to change your outlook) the best advice that I could pass along would be to embrace another “c” word and connect with people around you. Recently, I have had the most fun by connecting with unlikely, random people and enjoying experiences together. Reach out to someone (old friend or new acquaintance) and get that cup of coffee, host a bonfire night at your house (it’s almost fall y'all!), go bowling, join a civic or church organization and volunteer, speak to the other parents at your children’s sporting events (may have just stepped on my own toes). It is totally possible that this is out of your comfort-zone, I had convinced myself that it was out of mine. But my momma told me a long time ago that if you want to have a friend then you have to be one...and it turns out that being a friend and having fun isn’t as hard as I had made it out to be.