Have you ever looked yourself in the mirror and wondered why you have four “frown lines” for every laugh line? When was the last time you gut-laughed?
Do you slip into your daughter’s room late at night, and wish you’d spent as much time enjoying her as you did lecturing her? Do you ever wonder why she loves her grouch of a mother, anyway?
Do you ever look over your Facebook or blog posts, and wonder how you ever turned into such a whiny wet-blanket?
In the words of my late, sainted grandmother, “Ja, sure. You betcha.”
On a not-entirely-unrelated-note, this past weekend my husband and I ran away from home. (Don’t worry, we found someone to sit with our daughter and the dog, first.) We drove out of town in a snowstorm, and for two days we slept till noon, explored Colonial Williamsburg (we pretty much had the place to ourselves), consumed mass quantities of mulled cider . . . and had a great time. For two solid days, we didn’t think about work, or worries, or “issues.” When one of us started down a path the other didn’t care to follow, we’d flip on Garrison Keillor and listen to rambling monologues from his 20th Anniversary edition of Prairie Home Companion, about Lutheran ministers on a pontoon boat or other classic glimpses of life on Lake Woebegone.
It wasn’t until we got back in the car on Monday morning to make the drive back that the black cloud that we had happily eluded on the way down, caught up with us. Not even the “Tomato Butt” soliloquy could dispel the gray for long. Those leaden clouds sat on my shoulders, and in no time it was “business as usual.”
Almost. I mean, we had those two days. And it was sure fun. And it got me thinking about how long it had been since we’d done something like this. Too long, really. There was always a good reason, of course – money was tight, the kids needed us, the house was a mess, the deadlines were piling up. But the truth was, we all need a break from time to time. We just don’t realize just how much until we get it … and feel ourselves starting to breathe freely again.
Now about now, you’re probably rolling your eyes. “But I couldn’t POSSIBLY do that! There’s no money, and no one to take the kids. Besides, if I got away with my husband, we’d probably wind up with another kid, which I need like another hole in the head right now. . . .”
Maybe. Maybe not. The thing is, girls really DO want to have fun. You were made for joy. Made to experience happiness not only in the next life, but in this one. As women, we are hardwired to recognize beauty, to create comfort, to “suck the marrow out of life,” to paraphrase Walt Whitman very badly. When was the last time you ditched the schedule, and just had a little mindless fun that didn’t involve electronic gadgets or legal, liquid intoxicants?
Or at least, not just electronic gadgets and legal, liquid intoxicants? Something to get your cheeks rosy and your outlook rosier?
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started . . .
- Go skating. (Roller or ice, whatever will take you back to happier times.)
- Go parking. (Don’t forget the picnic and the blanket.)
- Find “the best of” your favorite category. Can’t afford to go out for dinner every weekend? How about scouring nearby farmer’s markets for the best goat’s cheese, or coffee shops for the best cinnamon roll?
- Scout your local paper for free or low-cost events. Maybe a local high-school production, organ concert, or kite-making demonstration.
- Play local tourist. Check out a shrine, museum or park, or flea market – whatever strikes your fancy – you’ve never seen before. Each person gets $5 to buy a memento or treat for the other person.
- Need a sitter? See if you can swap a Saturday morning or afternoon with another family from your church or community.
Don’t think of it as money down the drain. Think of it as an investment in your “happier ever after.”
What’s your favorite way to play?