In Pursuit of Fun
Hello and welcome to day 9 of my dry January journaling series. So glad you're here.
Today's prompt is: "What does fun mean to you? When was the last time you had real, genuine fun? Can you think of the most fun memory you've ever had?"
I have started a new book for the millionth time because I am great at starting books and I am mildly ok at finishing them. But anyways, I have started one I really hope I finished. It's called Unicorn Space by Eve Rodsky and I heard about it via @thatdarnchat aka Laura on TikTok! She shared how this book is all about "the active and open pursuit of creative self-expression in any form that makes you uniquely YOU."
This book already has me buzzing. As I waded through the very muddy waters of early sobriety, I wasn't really interested in having fun just yet. I knew I would need to heal my relationship with fun but I was so focused on my mental health that I just wanted to not be depressed - I wasn't super focused on the fun and happy part.
But about 4-5 months in, I started to really feel genuine joy about my life again. The type of contentment that allowed me to think about more than just my kid and my job and my relationship. I started thinking about fun.
I bought some plants. I started rollerskating. I turned my dining room into a zen den. Every time my inner child got excited about something, I gave in. And not in the "let's do all hobbies perfect" kind of way. Because that's not really listening to your inner child. And if you are looking to have fun - your inner child is the way to go.
If this feels strange to talk about, that's ok. But the inner child is the gateway to fun. A lot of people ask me how I have fun now that I'm sober and it makes me so sad that we as a society have such a hard time picturing fun without a drink in our hands.
But what about the beautiful joy that is meant to be experienced in childhood? I'm not saying everyone gets this but I think it's an interesting thing that seems to happy as we grow up - we lose our fun.
We don't need to booze to have fun then so when does the fun stop and the drinking begin? How is the only fun adult activity that most people do involve getting drunk a few nights a week?
I played with Barbies way longer than most girls. I was obsessed. At 13, I can vividly remember selling them in a garage sale, devastated. But I knew my time was up, I wasn't allowed to play with things like dolls anymore. I had to grow up.
I lost my fun at the expense of fitting in. I danced on a drill team in high school and made friends the appropriate way. Whenever I acted unladylike or I was too loud or too gross, I was corrected and acted the way girls were supposed to. Because I also grew up shrouded in purity culture, I stayed so far away from boys because I was terrified of them.
Pretty much any sort of fun felt like a dangerous game to me and even when I would drink when I was 18, I was stressed out the entire time. I wanted friends pretty desperately back then so I knew what I had to do - I had to follow the fun rules that society set out for me.
It's weird to be 32 years old and discovering fun again. It is so mother fucking vulnerable. Every time I go roller skating, I'm scared someone's going to laugh at me but I want to roller skate more than I care what anyone thinks. Because you guys, roller skating is an absolute freaking BLAST. We have this park that has the most perfect size hills so you never go too fast unless you accidentally do a really fast one and then maybe you beef one time but OTHER THAN THAT - I love it. It's so cold here so I can't do it right now but reading that book that I mentioned at the beginning has me dreaming about it again.
I think that's the beauty of fun - it makes you long after it. You miss it, like a person or a favorite meal. Fun is addicting but it is also healing. Allowing your heart to have some real fun or at least go in searching of it, allows a part of your soul to light up and when that parts of your soul lights up - it lights up the other parts of you too.
We talked at the beginning about our inner child. We all have one. I particularly relate to the 4 year old version of myself. She climbed everything, she was very confident, and she loved playing - constantly. She drew things and rode bikes and roller skated until her mom forced her to eat dinner. But anyways - my inner child is like my north star for fun. Because I let her steer the ship, I also give myself the biggest gift of all - embarrassment free fun.
Because isn't that the thing that stops us so often from having fun? The idea that adults aren't allowed to do certain things or enjoy some stuff because it's for kids. But all of us have an inner child and that little kid is the gateway to learning what we think is fun again.
If you are navigating the world of fun for the first time as an adult, be kind to yourself - it's scary but it's so rewarding too. The idea that you can have fun without trying to be good at whatever you're doing is a hard concept to unlearn. But the goal here is pressure free fun. Dancing, drawing, painting, exploring, etc - let the pursuit of creativity and fun be your driving force. Not pursuit of perfection but pursuit of FUN.
Now as I am finished writing this, I am off to paint on some canvases that I bought for a project two weeks ago but I am now finally doing. I'm excited and nervous to see what happens. That's the best part about fun - you literally never know how it will turn out.