I came up with a glorious word for 2014 after days and days of heaving all these heavy words around in my head like freedom and restraint and peace.
I wasn’t even going to pick a word at all. Then, while I was writing a totally different post that I totally deleted I came across this little word: FUN.
And my brain went: Oh. Huh. What a nice word. And completely opposite from something I’d normally pick. THAT’S IT! PICK IT.
I was writing a post about how people think sober people aren’t fun. And then I started thinking about how I don’t really let myself have fun. Like, I’m just all bogged down in the sobriety of sober-ness. Which doesn’t seem very fun at all. My dear friend Lilly over at One Too Many
is struggling with this right now- how to be sober and
Why is getting drunk considered the only adult fun? I mean, people look at you like you’ve grown another head when you say you don’t drink. So many people. Why is it “cool” to have too much to drink and then feel like shit the next day? It sounds so stupid and inane to me now: “Hey, I know. Let’s get dressed up, go out, spend a lot of money, do embarrassing things, and then feel like shit the next day.” Or my regular: “Hey, let’s go to the drinks store, spend too much money, ignore our lives, do embarrassing things, and then feel like shit the next day.” It doesn’t happen every time, but still.
It’s like wearing a life jacket, but not the good kind that will save you, more like the bad kind made out of burdens and expectations and weights. One that suffocates and smothers your life until you almost can’t even breathe. I mean, no wonder drunk people think they’re having all the fun: they forgot the cumbersome jacket. They forgot that thing after two or three glasses of wine. They have “permission”- liquid amnesia. Until the next morning when that strangle-y coat is weightier than ever.
How cool would it be to actually practice having fun, but without the lapses in memory or manners? Have a good damn time but without the morning oh-no’s? To be brave enough to not give a whit what people think so much? To do the work of finding people and things you actually enjoy rather than getting drunk again with that same group of people? To take that suffocating jacket off of your life and be the fun person you imagine you are when you’re getting your drink on, but without it. Without the protection of the booze: just you.
Why can’t we “let loose” sober?
I don’t mean drunk let’s-sleep-with-that-random-stranger let loose or look-at-me-being-an-ass-but-it’s-ok-I-just-had-too-many-jagerbombs loose- I mean the let loose of enjoying the moment, some time of abandon without using booze to numb yourself out of your life, you just are choosing to put down the burdens and having…..fun. Taking off that smothering awful weight of that alcohol straitjacket and finding the lightness of self. Self only. No props, no false courage. That doesn’t sound super fun yet, but it gets easier and easier and suddenly you find yourself talking and making sense. That people look at you not to whisper about what an ass you were last night but to admire you. Yes, you.
A lot of being sober for me has been giving myself permission to grow up. To act like a grown up. To make the right decisions. So I made that one right decision: stay sober. But I still behave like a spoiled brat when it comes to eating too many cookies or laying in bed and not getting up to write. So what about being a grown up and being an all the way grown up? Could that mean not doing this never-ending dance of permission and execution? Could that be…..fun?
I have a hard time with some stuff- my temper can be quick, I can be a total doormat. And then I can be a totally resentful cranky doormat. One of my biggest changes has been being able to admit when I am wrong, and then saying things like, “Help me please.” and “I don’t know what to do.” Which doesn’t sound like much fun, but it actually kind of is.
So that’s my word for this year. Fun. A reminder to not take it all so seriously. A way to see things differently: that life is to be enjoyed. That all this learning that never ends is not only hard and sometimes soul wrenching but a source of pure pleasure. That even the normal every day stuff can be entertaining. It’s all the way you look at it.