When you hit midlife, you encounter many forks on multiple roads. So many decisions to make after what seems like a lifetime of decision-making can be exhausting. It can also be exhilarating. Midlife presents another lifetime and you get to choose the direction you take. In an earlier post, I wrote about having a midlife awakening rather than a midlife crisis. As C.S. Louis wrote, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” The fork prong I’ve chosen is labeled “FUN”. Some alternatives are distress, boredom, hard work, and poor health. Fun over 50 seems like the way to go.

You’re Not Too Busy for Fun

I am actually writing this piece earlier than I usually do because when it posts on my regular blog day (Thursday), I’ll be in Nashville, TN with one of my oldest and closest friends. We’ve been friends since we were 12 and haven’t lived in the same city in more than 35 years. For years we talked about taking a girls’ trip together but for the longest time it seemed like more of a fantasy than a possibility. We were too busy with life. Last year, we finally did it. A few fun-filled days in Chicago had us hooked. This year it’s Nashville. Who knows where we’ll go next? All we know for sure is that there will be a next and a next after that. Now that we’ve made having fun a priority, there’s no going back. Sometimes all it takes is doing something once to appreciate that fun can be easy, addictive, and well worth the time and effort.

If fun seems self-indulgent and frivolous to you, think again. It’s good for your heart and good for your soul. There’s nothing frivolous or fluffy about it and you’re not too busy, no matter how busy you are.

Amusement and Enjoyment

Fun is that which provides amusement or enjoyment. It’s up to each person to determine what does it for them. My fun-o-meter is pretty simple. If an activity makes me laugh out loud, I know I’m having fun.

A friend and I recently took a free swing dance class with 100 other people in Bryant Park where people were bumping, grinding, and spinning into one another with abandon. The complementary sounds of swing music and laughter spoke volumes. More recently, I went kayaking with another one of my oldest and dearest friends. Every city girl should have a friend who suggests kayaking as an activity when they get together. It was so much fun. I learned a lot. Apparently you’re not supposed to soak yourself when kayaking and I can’t imagine it’s quite as challenging and entertaining for most people to get out of the boat as it was for me. Both activities had me laughing out loud. 

Fun is essential to our health. Having fun can reduce stress, improve sleep, increase serotonin and endorphins thereby improving our moods, and keep us moving more. It can also catalyze creativity. Fun over 50 feels especially important.

When we were children, many of us were able to let the level of fun dictate the activities we chose to pursue. Once we began to adult, fun tended to take a backseat. There was just too much to do and too many responsibilities that demanded our time. Those responsibilities for many of us included seeing to the fun of others. Midlife is a good time to reconnect with the child within.

At some point, some midpoint, the changes to our minds and bodies, the good and the bad, become more pronounced. We don’t know how much time we have left and, though we may have decades, the clock is ticking. We can give in to the aches and just seek out as much sleep as we can get while we continue on whatever path we’ve been following or we can optimize the positive changes. Along with the pains of getting older are realizations and wisdom. We may realize that we don’t have an eternity left, that we don’t care as much about what other people think, that we’ve put in the work, and that it’s up to us to generate our own rewards. If we’re open to it, these realizations can lead us to develop new visions, set new goals, try different paths. Why not try a path punctuated by fun if you’re not already on one? There’s no reason to feel fixed over 50 when you can be having fun over 50.

Fun is Whatever You Works for You

Fun is whatever works for you. Part of the challenge in pursuing fun over 50 is taking the time to discern what you don’t consider fun and celebrating the fact that you can say no. There’s great joy, though, in identifying activities you do consider fun, planning them, scheduling them, anticipating them, and then doing them. There can be great fun in the process. For me, fun includes a food walking tour and a line dancing class in Nashville with a lifelong friend. How about you?

Musical Playlist

Fun, Fun, Fun; Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Shut Up and Dance

Thinking and Trying

Something to think about: “It’s the game of life. Do I win or do I lose? One day they’re gonna shut the game down. I gotta have as much fun and go around the board as many times as I can before it’s my turn to leave.” – Tupac Shakur

Something to try: Think of three memories of times you had a lot of fun. Choose one of those activities. Schedule fun. Then go out and have some!

Coaching Can Help

If you want to make fun a priority and have spent so many years making things fun for everyone else that you don’t even know what fun means to you, consider working with a coach. I’d be happy to jump on a free 15 minute Zoom call to talk through what coaching might look like and help you achieve. You can schedule your call here.

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2 Comments

  1. Yesterday, my wife and I went to a baseball game with four of our (combined) six kids. My oldest, who is 25 and living his best life in Chicago, was home and it was just so enjoyable to spend a few hours with him and the other “kinder”. It’s moments like that that make for indelible life memories, at least for me.

    P.S. I love Chicago–great, fun city to visit, and Nashville is high on our list of cities to visit, though we are looking at Detroit next!

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