I Wanna Have Fun, But I Just Don't Know How

For as long as I can remember, my brain has been getting between me and the possibility of having fun. As a firstborn daughter, I feel hard-wired with attachment issues, rule-following tendencies, and nervousness around just about everything. So things that might typically have been considered fun by my peers during youth and adolescence — sleepovers, summer camp, parties in the woods, prom pre-games — never made it onto my schedule. And today, as a 40-year-old mother of four, I feel much the same. I struggle to find my fun while so many of my peers seem to access it effortlessly (and similarly). And God, it’s frustrating.

I watch the other team moms huddle together on the sidelines at sporting events, sharing blankets, snacks, and laughs. It looks like they’re having a blast, like a bonfire party fast-forwarded a couple of decades. And rather than join in, I isolate myself on the edge of the field, with my parents and kids, just barely surviving the sports social scene.

And then there are the ladies’ nights. The ones where the moms get together for dinner, drinks, or some fun activity. Oftentimes, an invite will come through and despite giving all the invitees rave reviews, I still find myself unable to participate. I’m paralyzed by some weird mixture of exhaustion and anxiety. I just don’t know how to look forward to these “fun” events. It’s not them. It’s most definitely me.

There are so many ways I watch moms engage in fun — adult sports leagues, book clubs, weekends away skiing. Their smiles plaster my social media feeds. Honestly, I am perplexed but also jealous that these things I so actively try to avoid bring them so much joy.

To be clear: I don’t feel unhappy or unfulfilled. I love being at home with my four kids. And maybe what I am talking about has nothing to do with girl group hangs to have fun. But I still have a hard time just relaxing. I am talking about honest, raw, real fun.

I mean, I’m not totally immune to the feeling. I have felt it on our recent trip to Disney where I felt freer than ever on a rollercoaster with my kids. Or at The Eras Tour where I danced and sang until my throat hurt without a care in the world. I just wish it came a little more naturally to me. And I don’t know where to find those moments in my everyday life in a way that I feel so many around me do.

I mean, I do love a dip in my hot tub and dinner out with my husband. I also love snuggling with my kids, one on one chats with friends, and a good book. But I just don’t love the big group activities. My comfort level exists mostly at home. And maybe I am just an introvert, which is okay too. Maybe I just need to accept that my fun just exists on a different level. A quieter, more solitude one — and that is absolutely fine.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.

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