On the men in my life and this being a wide-open conversation, for better or worse.
In my first episode, which was really an essay explaining why I am doing this – the Fun Project – I realize that I didn’t mention the fact that I’m married. This struck me as ridiculous since I’ve been married to a wonderful person for 25 years. I watched him listen to the first episode and thought “Oh my Lord, I don’t mention him at all.” I talked about having kids I talked about for having friends. I talk about work and all sorts of other influences and responsibilities in my life, but I skipped the part that is very important to me. So, why did I do this?
I think the reason why I didn’t is that I do see this journey toward fun is something I need to do on my own terms. If my husband is able to do things with me, that’s wonderful. We do lots of things together. But this exploration and expansion is for me, it does really matter that it’s with other like-minded and like-abled people, who will likely be women.
The thing is, I am an only girl with four brothers and that has inexorably shaped me. I’m also the youngest, so despite the fact that I’ve been a grown person for decades and decades, I still serve that little Anne. That might leave me having stronger feelings in this area than you do. But, the Anne I am now has no patience for things that are done at a pace and style that’s more appropriate for men than women. If we’re fleeing, I’m fine with that – I will gladly endeavor to flee at a man’s pace. Otherwise, no. Those days are behind me. I want things set up so that I like it, so that I’m comfortable and can thrive. I don’t want to contort into what amounts to a man’s game. My career has required that and I’m tired of it. I’m not sure I’m expressing this exactly as I’d like to, but that’s the jist of it – men are great and I value the men in my lives, but in my experience, their needs differ from mine, they do things differently than I do and speak about things differently. I want to do it my way. So, that’s my opinion. It’s important that I validate that if you feel the same way, even a little.
Whatever I choose to do, and the types of things that I explore will be catered towards women. And if it works out so that my husband and other men are there and we can all have fun together, that’s great, but I anticipate this being a majority estrogenic experience.
When I decided to do the fun project, I did a bit of validation, a little market research, nothing extravagant. I didn’t have to work that hard because this is what could be called a greenfield opportunity.
I know that there are a number of experts out there already about thriving in life. Catherine Price has produced a seminal work on the nature and meaning of fun. There’s a bunch of books on joy. We know from aging and longevity research that activity – both physical and that of social connection – is critical. The relationship of fun with joy and overall happiness will no doubt be an ongoing thread. I intend to pull from this wisdom and research and hopefully share it with you all as we work through this together.
The thing about this being a greenfield opportunity was evident with a pretty rudimentary google search. My search phrase was “fun for middle aged women.” I found two blog posts that were actually the same content – in total, there were three lists. Good Housekeeping wrote about hobbies for women at the end of 2019 – an auspicious period to make suggestions about how one might spend time at home. There are a couple of blogs with lists of things women can do – the best hobbies to take up in your 40s according to bestlifeonline.com, and a list of hobbies for women over 50 from sixty and me dot com.
Then you get to a blog of affiliate links to gifts for older women to “make them happy,” Prevention’s take on girlfriend getaways for women over 40 and then a HuffPo piece on women reclaiming “sexy” with photos of them in various states of undress. My favorite among these low-influence voices is the blog mantelligence dot com’s take on the 78 best hobbies for women. I love that.
So, this isn’t a busy, vital conversation. It needs to be. I guess it’s not a shock that society, or in this case, if I’m honest, content marketing, isn’t reflecting where we all are. The good news is that we get to lead a part of this conversation and hopefully have it all make sense to us first before we spread the word to others.
Thanks for listening. You can follow The Fun Project on Instagram at funprojectpod. Hope you will take a minute to follow.
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