Middle aged fun

How do you have fun without getting a hangover?

I’m not sitting in a nursing home with porridge in my whiskers just yet but I can’t party like I used to.

The disco-lit wilderness of my youth – the dance floor nights, the vodka bottles, the special Saturday night tops – are all a distant memory that’s been replaced by … what? Bursitis in my knee? Five streaming subscriptions? Comfortable, breathable bamboo undies in neutral colours?

I have been watching Platonic, a show about middle aged friends navigating relationship breakdowns, work, family and trying to buy a house, and it raises a lot of valid questions, namely how do you have fun and still get up on time?

Why did so much that was fun involve late nights, spending too much money and a sore head in the morning?

I have been thinking about this a lot because I still desperately want and need fun in my life. Fun is an essential vitamin but I need to find a new source.

Ever since I started working at a medical research institute, it’s become increasingly clear that old school fun kills you.

Drinking drastically increases the risk of cancer and stroke, and lack of sleep is closely linked to increased risk of dementia.

Add two small children into the mix and fun starts to take a different shape.

I’m not saying that I don’t have fun with my kids, my husband, my friends and my family. I do. It’s just that it’s not as easy to access in amongst all the loads of washing, 4am breastfeeds and trips to Aldi.

I love watching Joey’s soccer team on a Saturday morning. I love No Lights, No Lycra (not that I can ever go – see: kids). I love rainbow nourish bowls and alcohol-free Asahi. I have logged 500 hours and 9 minutes of meditation.

But I also love tequila shots and New York pizza slices. I love karaoke and tragic white lady hip hop dancing. I miss staying up with my old friends, and the moon.

I miss travelling. I can’t believe that it used to be so easy. Pack a bag and show up at the airport.

The logistics of trying to take two kids anywhere involves travel cots, prams, new passports and more money than I have. Add school holiday travel periods and petsitting for our dog and cat into the equation and it starts feeling too hard.

This school holidays we’re visiting my parents and going to a caravan park in Port Macquarie for two nights because that’s all I can handle.

I don’t think I’m ready to give it all up yet but I don’t have the stamina, money or the opportunity to do very much.

So what do I do now? Pickle ball? Pub choir? Comedy gigs at parenting-friendly times? I’ve looked into all sorts of things but they’re hard to do when you have kids.

I would love to know your thoughts about how to have fun on a) a budget, b) without booze (or not very much anyway) and c) in a way that is family-friendly. This is serious question because fun is a serious business.

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