Searching: Might as well be fun

80'sMy son’s school had an 80s-themed fundraiser a-la Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” admittedly one of my favorite songs growing up.   But that was four decades ago!  Now I am a middle-aged woman who just wants a nap.  I mean they’re pretty fun, too, right?

It’s hard to believe that I can count my life in decades now.  I still remember the thrill of turning double digits, the big 1-0.  It was the following year, 1983, that Lauper released the ultimate slumber party song, “They just wanna, they just wanna, oh girls, Girls just wanna have fun.” 

In retrospect, I don’t know how fun the eighties were for me.  My parents divorced.  I was a latch-key kid living off Stouffer’s frozen fettuccine dinners, ice cream bars, and Cool Whip. It was a coming-of-age decade with all the confusion, angst, and acne that accompanies adolescence.

More than having fun, I think what I wanted was to belong.  I felt a little bit like an astronaut floating around in a space suit trying to find my people.  More so, trying to find myself.

I like to think that now that I am in my forties, I am more grounded, and certainly my faith is a huge part of that.  But there are still days that I wonder what I am supposed to be when I grow up, what I am here for, and how to make the most of the time I have left.  While the gravity of those questions should be enough to bring me down, the promise of my faith, of an eternal life with God, keeps me afloat as I search.

I went to the thrift store with two girlfriends to find an outfit befitting the decade with a penchant for legwarmers and leisure suits.  There were no dressing rooms, so we had to try poufy, lacy, neon, garish dresses over our clothes in front of mirrors in the middle aisles of the store.    We were a spectacle worthy of our own music video.

Okay, it was less Robert Palmer and more middle-aged mayhem.  I tried on an orange neon dress with a center slit so high I am pretty sure my son would have been kicked out of school if I wore it, and my friend delighted in finding the absolute ugliest dress I’ve seen in a long time. Our other girlfriend was like a stage mom, accessorizing us, tucking our post-baby parts into cast-off prom dresses and saying things like, “Oh, the reason you can’t find anything is that everything looks good on you.”  You have to love a friend that can lie like that!

I didn’t find anything that Thursday at the thrift store, but eventually I found something perfectly hideous to wear to the event.  Just like I have faith that I will someday find the answers to the weighty questions I sometimes ask.  If nothing else, I was reminded of how fun the search can be.  And, after all, girls just wanna have fun!

What do you remember most about the eighties?  Are you still searching for the same things you were then?  I am pretty sure all I was searching for was a decent boyfriend.  In retrospect,  I think the meaning of life may just be easier to find!  

Want to watch Cyndi Lauper’s video for this iconic song. Want to read more on aging?

 

 

6 thoughts on “Searching: Might as well be fun

  • March 1, 2018 at 4:42 am
    Permalink

    As I lay awake, unable to sleep, I always find joy and peace in your beautiful words. In a different mood, I would express the difference between The Molly of the 80’s and the present. But is she really that different?
    You said, “the promise of my faith, of an eternal life with God, keeps me afloat.” Your words give me strength, and for that I am grateful. Though I may have evolved over the years, in my heart I am the same girl, with the same set of values and goals. On our most difficult days-and always- it is important to remember the ultimate goal of eternal life that awaits us all. And in that I find peace.

    Reply
    • March 10, 2018 at 12:29 am
      Permalink

      I am so glad Molly. Like you, in many ways, I don’t feel that different than I did when I was younger. But for me, the great trade-off to aging is that I feel more grounded in what matters and what doesn’t. Some days I am better at it than others but reminding myself of the eternal goal seems to center me more than anything I can say to myself about my time here on earth.

      Reply
  • February 27, 2018 at 7:30 pm
    Permalink

    Lara, you look adorable!!! I’ve just discovered your blog, and it’s been a delight! Very positive and inspirational, which I really need right now. I think about you often, and am happy to see you and your family are doing well.

    Reply
    • February 28, 2018 at 10:04 pm
      Permalink

      How on earth did you find it Phyllis! What a gift to hear from you! I am going to email you! Such a blessing to reconnect!

      Reply
  • February 27, 2018 at 1:19 pm
    Permalink

    Awesome post!! The 80’s were much easier than these days! I feel the same way as you and want to know what my exact purpose is and how I can make the best of the second part of my life! You my sweet friend were made to write! You do it so well and you keep the reader wanting more! They are so uplifting and REAL! You go girl! Also, in real life, you are the most comfortable and approachable person I have ever met. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
    • February 28, 2018 at 10:02 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you, Cassie. That means so much to me. For a long time I fought writing – sometimes I still do. It’ s like a lot of things about who we are – we want to be someone else. I am working more on accepting myself, my gifts and my limitations. Some days I am better at it than others but it definitely means a lot to know that what I write is appreciated. I heard the best sermon this morning and I swear God was delivering it straight to me and maybe I am supposed to deliver it to you. But it was all about how it doesn’t matter what we do in life as far as prestige or a career that we are here to serve others. That is our purpose: yours, mine, the Pope’s, the homeless guy. The priest talked about how Jesus was the king and he didn’t come to be served but to serve. I don’t know the way he said it all made such beautiful sense. I hope I can let it sink into my heart and that it will sink it to yours as well. I think it would take a lot of pressure off.

      Reply

Leave a Reply