Saturday, November 14, 2020

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Every evening after checking in with my girls on their remote study days, one of them usually asks how my day at work went.

“It was busy and I got a lot done,” I told Maddy, my 12-year old, when she asked last night while we were at dinner.

“Did you have fun?” she asked, “and did you play on the rolling ladder?”

I had to smile as my industrial design office sports a huge floor-to-ceiling rolling ladder across one full wall, used to post drawings, designs, and ideas on the felt surface to keep us all motivated and on track.  When Maddy comes to the office with me on the weekends when I have to finish up work, she climbs the ladder and asks me to push her back and forth across the floor for a ride.  It’s her favorite thing at my office, next to the killer sound system that blares out music from her iPhone to any room in the office with the click of a button.  She is free and happy on that ladder and having fun.

No, I didn’t play on the ladder.  But I do have fun at my job most days.  I feel fulfilled with my work and contributions, I enjoy my co-workers and usually find a way to bust a laugh or two during the day with at least of few of them, and I respect my boss and his mission for the company.

Frankly, I’ve been struggling to have fun when not at work.  Some of the things I used to do for sheer pleasure - playing volleyball, making music playlists, hanging out with my kids without agenda, writing, socializing with friends, producing a YouTube show, and dating, have all been turned on their end and I’m hustling to make appropriate adjustments.  I’m so busy focusing on filling the empty time I now have at home without plans, games, dates, and interview schedules, that I’m not enjoying the things I could still be rocking:  writing, making playlists, chilling with my girls, and taking time to just be.

In my rush to try and replicate what always has been, my busy life, I have inadvertently made it even busier than usual.  I have a hard time slowing myself down, and usually the universe and/or higher power remind me somewhat roughly, that it’s time to slow down.  
Two weeks ago it was a 3-day migraine that forced to take time off and work from home.  Last week it was a twisted ankle that forced me to take time off of both work and physical activity, which led to taking time off of socializing.  What will it be this week?  I’m hoping nothing, as the less-than-gentle reminders have me putting my life in focus, at least for the moment.  

Having time to think and pay attention to those things around me - my home, kids, friends and self - I’ve realized that I’ve been ignoring them all in my wind tunnel of activity.  I had not been guiding my youngest in her technology usage, her navigating relationships within groups, nor tracking her physical whereabouts throughout the day when I was at work.  I had not noticed that my eldest was worried about her job at a restaurant that may soon shut down, which has become her entire social lifeline in the last few months.  I’d been neglecting myself in regards to healthy eating, necessary downtime, and creative outlets.  What I was putting out into the universe came back to me tenfold in the form of potential dates that were treating me with the same disregard.  

This past week I chose to consciously focus on my kids and make time to do what they consider fun.  The rewards of that decision have slayed me.  The conversations that come about when playing cards, walking the dog, making dinner together, and hanging out with my older daughter’s boyfriend with her, are fun, even though the topics are sometimes not so light.  The sharing of school projects and college essays without critique lended creativity and sparked conversation on concepts and ideas.  The pointed conversations about politics and national healing allowed us to recognize our humanity.  The carefree movie-watching allowed us to simply exist in harmony.  

The change bled into my personal life as well.  The phone calls I’m having with my friends and family when I set the phone, remote, and laptop down to really listen to what’s being said to me so that I can respond with intention, are fun.  Allowing myself time to consider the type of humans I want to incorporate into my dating life and then only focusing energy on those individuals, no matter how rare their existence in the world, is fun (and I can’t help but add empowering).  Lounging in the hanging chair reading a book and sipping tea or wine while watching the leaves fall from the top of the trees outside of my 3rd floor window is fun.  Writing is fun.

Thank you world for yanking me off of my hamster wheel and allowing me to focus on the beauty around me that I call fun!  Are you there yet?

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