Our Declaration of Independence proclaims that we are all free to pursue “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. In our workaholic culture, the pursuit of happiness is often equated to acquiring things or taking fancy trips or having a family or keeping up with the jones. At least, that’s what I envision that phrase to mean. And when I set out to write about living joyfully, (how American it is for me to diligently work hard at and document my efforts to be happy) I didn’t think much about one thing that has always made me happy, yet something I rarely do: have fun.
I have always enjoyed my birthdays. Because, as I mentioned, they are the one day a year when I get to do whatever I want. So much about being a parent involves chores. You can find joy in the everyday, but it takes work and doesn’t come naturally to me. (Although I continue to try.) I enjoy many things related to my children and there are truly happy moments, but so much of parenthood is about sacrifice and sublimation. It’s easy to become a drone.
So yesterday, I played with friends and my husband and freed myself from the heavy mantle of responsibility for 12 hours. I wish all of you could have been there, because it was FUN! I realized I have not had fun in many, many years. And afterward I happily returned to my family life as a mother, rejuvenated and with memories of shenanigans and laughs.
What’s fun is creating stories and memories with people. In college, my friends and I would write down on a white board funny things people would say, or a two-word description of something that would prompt a hilarious memory. Eg: Recycled Salsa. Which referred to my horror when I realized that the restaurant I worked at had an enormous cauldron where you were required to dump the uneaten salsa from diners’ tables. That cauldron was also where you would ladle “new salsa” from. Ew.
So here’s my white board which I will share with you. (Because you are all my friends! Let’s share a funny story.) And I humbly submit: Stumbling Gracefully’s “Karate Power”. Bodega Bliss, Stumbling Gracefully and I attended a music festival. This happened:
Photos courtesy of and copyrighted by Stumbling Gracefully.
Darcy was picking me up from the music festival so the three amigos went outside to wait for him. Right in front of the building was a parking spot!! This is San Francisco, so action needed to be taken. Esperanza stood in the street between the two cars, arms akimbo, and she made herself as physically imposing as possible. But, she had a competitor for the empty piece of cement. A guy claimed he had been waiting for the spot before we even got there. So Esperanza challenged him to a duel for it. The bargain was he would run circles around her while she did that “crane” move from “Karate Kid”. The first one to falter lost. I don’t know how they came up with that, either. So Esperanza’s doing a million of these moves:
While the guy literally ran laps around her. Eventually he claimed he was “winded” and cried uncle. Bodega and I laughed our asses off.
Esperanza FTW. Wax on, wax off.
No, I didn’t have the wisdom to tape it. I really, really wish I had.
You know what else was fun? Eating this Banana Cream Pie (My Favorite Pie Ever)!! Bodega Bliss is a better baker than anyone I know.
SO let’s make this a communal White Board. Please tell me a fun story that has happened to you, either recently or way back. I would love for us all to remember and share some fun.
And no, I have not forgotten my promise to share the worst exercise story of all time. I’m just not ready yet….