Making life fun takes intention. I’ve started saying “yes” to things. Not so that I don’t have to say “no”. Not to or for my kids. Not to keep the peace, avoid a fight, please people, or because I am putting everyone else before myself and my family.
I am saying “yes” to things I want to try. Things I have always wanted to try. Things I have not tried because someone called them silly. Or because someone else did not see the value in trying whatever it is I want to try.
Things I have not tried because someone whose opinion matters to me called them a waste of time. Frivolous. Unproductive. Some other label that I hung onto long enough that I forgot it had been installed by someone else- that it wasn’t my belief.
Making Life Fun: What am I saying Yes to?
A few months ago a friend recommended me for a side hustle. It’s basically being a mystery shopper for the financial industry. I’m working on making life fun and this sounded fun to me so I said “yes”. Right away. I did not think about it. It sounded fun (and I like money!) so I said yes.
I love that the owner of the company is also a homeschool mom and encourages her workers to bring the kids to shops. I love that it gets the kids and I (and my husband who often comes with us) out to parts of New England we would have no other reason to go. I love that it gets the cost of a little bit of travel covered. I love that it is flexible and I can do it completely around my schedule as long as I meet the deadline. I love extra $. Mostly, I love that it’s a totally new experience for me.
I said “yes” for another reason too, though. See, I was stuck in analysis paralysis. There were so many different things I wanted to try. So much I wanted to do. So much I am passionate about that I could not decide where to focus my extra energy. (Now that I am not drinking and am healthy I have so much more time. Time when the kids are doing their own thing and I find myself watching TV from boredom not interest. Sitting there waiting for them to need me.)
So I spent my time thinking about what I wanted to do. Considering what I should be doing. To the point that all my extra time was spent thinking. Comparing. Analyzing. Not doing. I wanted to do.
So when my friend shared this opportunity with me I said “yes” immediately. I said “yes” to doing. I knew that I needed to take some sort of action. I needed to get some momentum going.
At 46, I know that getting the momentum going is the important thing- that it doesn’t matter so much what I am doing to create the momentum.
Sure enough, the activity from this side hustle got my mind working differently. My thoughts working differently. It set me in motion. It got me out of my own fucking head! And it is so much fun!
Once the Momentum Got Going
This experience made me realize how much time I have when I stop thinking so much, so I started saying “yes” to some other things.
I said “yes” to pursuing the next level in my work (my actual work as a Voice Over Talent). I researched who the right person was for my next step, met with them, and said “yes” before I’d hung up. This yes required a financial investment. Saying “yes” without ruminating on it for months was unlike me. It was the next step in my career though. If I want to move up this needs to be done. So I said “yes”. And I’m doing it. And it’s awesome.
I am now saying “yes” to anything that comes my way that sounds fun- playful. Experiences that gel with making life fun. Anything that sounds interesting or that I’d like to learn more about. It’s wild!
Like, What Kinds of Things are Making Life Fun?
My son has a side hustle reselling. I take him to thrift stores several times a week and it’s so fun! Over the past year or so I’ve picked up several things that have called out to me. This wedding cake topper.
This mid-century fondue pot.
This vintage soup tureen from Japan.
These milk glass lamps.
This oh-so-funky mug.
I don’t know why I have picked them up.
Just last week I was in Maine with my husband and kids doing my side hustle. We stopped at several thrift stores for my son. I bought some more things that felt like they were meant to come home with me. I looked at our cart, looked at my husband and said “what am I doing? Why am I buying all of this stuff? What am I doing to do with it? I’m building an inventory. For what?”
Kris said he didn’t know but he knew I was having fun doing it and that I really loved the things I was buying. He was right.
I thought about this overnight and that was long enough. Finally, I came to the realization I was thinking about it too much. I realized how much fun I’d been having learning about these items, reading about cool finds in vintage Facebook groups, and learning how to tell if something has financial value or not.
So today, I signed a contract for a table at a local vintage fair. I can’t believe it!
“This is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done.” the voices in my head tell me. “What a waste of time” they say. “You are spending money on that?!” they scold “to buy and sell junk?!”.
Yes. Yes, I am.
It’s not silly. It’s fun.
It’s not wasteful. I’m responsible about what I buy.
It’s not junk. They are objects with stories and history. They bring happiness to people. They bring happiness to me! They connect us to a different era. Make us wonder. Make us consider. Pique our curiosity. Act as a muse. I love that!
This is not dumb. It’s making life fun. It’s play. At 46 I have not spent nearly enough of my life playing. If I play for the rest of my days I still won’t make up for lost play time.
I am saying “yes” to other stuff too, like writing and publishing this piece. “Who would ever want to read this crap?” the voices ask. “You are so self-centered. You think people want to know what you are thinking? What a joke. You don’t matter. Your thoughts are worthless.”
But here they are. Published anyway.
I have also started making jewelry. I just bought my first significant purchase for this hobby.
“Who do you think you are?” the voices yell. “You aren’t an artist. A maker. A creator. This is such a waste of time you dummy. Do something more important like washing the kitchen floor” they seethe. “What are your children doing right now? Fending for themselves?”
Well, a couple of hundred pairs of earrings later and those voices seem quieter. More like a distant noise than a directive.
All my life I have reigned myself in. Toned myself down. Taken stock of what I am supposed to be doing; focusing. Picking a thing. Sticking with it. Committing. Pulling myself back. Not trying something I won’t commit to. (Commit to for how long, btw? Forever? When is it acceptable to stop doing something you don’t enjoy? Insert eye roll here).
Not anymore. Now, I’m saying yes. For as long as it feels fun and playful. Then I quit.
I don’t know where any of this is going and that’s really the point. Selling vintage wares?! It’s been a dream of mine to try this. I might hate it. I might not make any money. It might not be fun.
MAKING earrings? Like, with my own two hands? I don’t envision this ever making me any money. I envision it always being for fun- a creative outlet. A way to prove them (the voices, maybe) wrong and let them know I am an artist. A maker. A creator.
Writing? Blogging? I’ve built a large readership before. I don’t want that again. I don’t want to publish a book, create a course, or sell digital products. And sweet baby Jesus I do not want to coach people! So why am I bothering?
I truly do not know. I don’t know why I am doing any of this! Except that it’s making life fun. It makes me happy. I like the people I’m meeting, the experiences I’m getting, the skills I’m developing, and the things that I am trying. All of it energizes me. It makes me feel like there are more hours in everyday.
I like the energy it’s bringing to my family and our household, too. The fun. The curiosity. The exploration. My husband is as excited about the Vintage Market as I am! He loves finding neat old things and is excited to see if others like the things he has found too.
Where is any of this going? I have absolutely no idea! I’m reveling in the truth that I do not have to know where it is going. That I can stop whenever it’s not fun anymore. That it is total and complete play!
It’s pretty amazing to feel what happens when we start living a life that is ours. When we don’t shape ourselves to try desperately to fit into that box. When we understand that it is okay if people we love don’t get what we are doing. Are scared by the freedom that comes from living our own life in our own skin.
Having fun is so much fun! Playing and doing the things I love leaves less space for anxiety, worry, and fear. It keeps me connected to the real; the people. The things. The clay.
I want every woman to have this. I guess that’s why I’m putting this out there. Because maybe somebody needs to read it. Maybe it will help another woman to start saying “yes” to the things that call to her, too.
Maybe it will give other women the permission they don’t need to say “YES!” to play.
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