I’m usually not one for resolutions, but I have a singular focus for 2023: I want to be fun again.
I definitely used to be a fun person. In my 20s and early 30s, I was always up for an adventure. I checked out every new bar and restaurant and constantly hosted friends for over-the-top, themed parties. I’d regularly take last-minute road trips and would plan multiple week or more vacations each year. I had a variety of hobbies, like running half marathons, playing in dodgeball and volleyball leagues, volunteering for various charities, and being a member of two book clubs. My interests were varied, and my days were full. It was all so much fun.
But then life happened. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent two years of active treatment. I battled infertility, and my mental and physical health took a nosedive with three failed rounds of IVF. We moved multiple times, dealing with all the hassles of buying and selling houses. I received two promotions at work, each adding more responsibility and stress. I had a baby and became a working mother trying to find “balance” during a global pandemic. I lost friends unexpectedly (literally and figuratively) and watched the world around me grow progressively angrier and less safe. I would be lying if I said the last seven-ish years have felt anything but heavy. And the weight of it has made me into someone who, if I’m being totally honest, isn’t always looking for the bright side.
Please don’t get me wrong, though. I have a great life. I have a loving husband, a miracle child, an incredible family, and a group of amazing friends. I am privileged in so many ways; frankly, I’m pretty proud of how I’ve handled all life has thrown at me. I wouldn’t trade any of it for weekends dancing at the trendiest bars in town.
But, when I step back and objectively look at my general state of being, fun isn’t an adjective that comes to mind anymore. Fun has been replaced with the constant ticker in my brain, keeping track of all that needs to get done at home and work to keep things running smoothly. Fun gives way to the practicality of parenthood, like never-ending laundry, doctor’s appointments, and meal planning (just to name a few!). Fun means figuring out my work responsibilities, coordinating schedules with my husband, finding (and $paying$) a babysitter, and seeing if any of my friends are even interested or available. And then, even if I manage to squeeze in some fun, my child will still wake up at 6 a.m. the following day. Fun feels exhausting, and I’m already tired.
But, sitting here today, I know I have to make fun a priority again. It’s not only good for my health but for my family’s health too. So what does that look like for me this year? It’s being present with my daughter when she wants to sing and dance instead of half-heartedly moving my body while unloading the dishwasher. It’s finding a regular babysitter so my husband and I can join a pickleball league. It’s committing to consistent nights out with girlfriends (looking at you, Mom Hoppy Hour and Indianapolis Moms Book Club!). It’s signing up for the Mini Marathon and pausing the mental ticker without guilt while I go on long training runs with a lighthearted audiobook.
Listen, I realize I am completely different from the 20-something who went out drinking and dancing every weekend. I am at peace with that (and, frankly, the thought of going somewhere loud and crowded is less than appealing these days). But I am not comfortable with missing the joy in my life as it is right now because I’m so bogged down by the trauma of my past and the boring to-do list in my future. So, 2023, bring on the fun. I’m ready for you again.