When Did My Definition of Fun Mutate from Yee-Haw to Ho-Hum?

June 2, 2024

When Did My Definition of Fun Mutate from Yee-Haw to Ho-Hum?

May 29, 2023

Chip’s Note: Ang is one of my favorite Australians and I wrote about her early in my book, Learning to Love Midlife. She’s also a gifted writer so I hope you enjoy this musing of midlife fun.

It occurred to me recently, as I listened to a friend relay details of their ‘fun’ weekend, that my definition of ‘fun’ (which ‘back in the day’ used to resemble theirs), has morphed into something that now looks decidedly different. And I am not sure how I feel about this. 

Aforementioned (younger) friends’ weekend involved a crowded train to a stadium (that might as well have been on Mars), a mosh pit, minimal sleep, and a hangover… topped off with a boozy birthday ‘do’ on Sunday night. I’m sorry? Sunday night? Do these people not observe the sacred social sabbath? “Thou shall not leave home, converse with another being or engage in random acts of frivolity after 4pm on Sunday.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still up for fun … it just looks very different … and rarely involves large bodies of water (unless it’s a bath), dirt (unless it’s a rude joke), crowds, noise, small talk, late nights, or finger food (which could explain why party invitations are few and far between). Having read that back, I sound about as much fun as a colonoscopy, and I am curious as to when my definition of fun mutated from Yee-haw to Ho-hum?

I think that perhaps, this change coincided with when my ‘buck-stops-with-me-o-meter‘ and my ‘give-a-shit-o-meter‘ overtook my ‘fun-o-meter’ as the barometer of good times. About the same time that I started shrieking statements like, “THOSE PLATES AREN’T GOING TO WALK TO THE DISHWASHER ON THEIR OWN, YOU KNOW” and when staying out past 1 am started to feel like about as much fun as sand in your undies. Why? Because the consequences of said late night and dirty dishes was eclipsed by the very ‘unfun’ fallout that landed fairly and squarely on my lap. Perhaps I succumbed to AAFFD anticipatory apprehension to the fallout from fun disorder.

But here’s the thing. Life has come full circle and I think my fun-o-meter is in dire need of a service and long overdue recalibration because nobodies ‘bucks’ stop with me anymore (to be fair my own bucks don’t hang around for long either). I am now no longer responsible for keeping any small humans alive. I don’t have a job that requires me to be dressed and out the door at 8am (I am writing this from bed, dressed in leisure wear … do PJ’s count as leisure wear?... asking for a friend). So why have I not re-embraced old-fashioned fun in all its carefree, ‘she’ll be right’ glory, typical of those with minimal responsibility?

Upon reflection, I think that with age (and perhaps wisdom), our ‘fast forward’ button (the one that constantly anticipates potential consequences) gets a little ‘sticky’… meaning we press it out of habit until it gets stuck down… and our ‘pause’ button (aka the devil-may-care, audaciously fun button) that promotes a temporary suspension from reality gets overlooked. 

Let’s be real, I’m a long way from embracing the Livin' la Vida Loca ‘press pause’ kind of life, but equally I’m ready to take my finger off fast forward for a bit. Neither Rewind nor Stop sound like great options, which is why I have concluded that the ‘play’ (live in the moment) button should be my new ‘go to’ from here on in.

So …pressing ‘play’ on play is my new motto. Suffice to say that this transition might take some time to implement, so please don’t expect to see (or hear) from me after 4 pm on Sundays any time soon, and if your invitation involves a mosh pit, sand pit … or any other kind of pit I will politely decline. 

-Ang

Ang Galloway is an Australian storyteller and MEA alum. You can read more of her stories at https://angelagalloway.substack.com/.

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