As it turns out, I am not fun. True, I am funny sometimes, but funny is different from fun. I have this on good authority.
You can’t imagine the shock this news gave to the old system. I, Natalia Ilyin-- not fun? All these years of the wry remark, the ironic glance--for naught? But there it is. I am not fun, not fun-loving and I do not inspire a carefree, sunny joie-de-vivre in others. I'm a veritable Kafka at the barbecue.
Walking home from this moment of intense realization, I bludgeoned myself for not being fun. For it's true. I'm not fun in the way other women can be fun. I do not jump up and down in delight at the drop of a hat. I do not giggle irresistibly over the cute things cats or men do. I have no desire to giggle irresistibly.
Sweet is exhausting to me. Just trying gave me under-eye circles that rival those of Ahkmatova. And as far as infectious laughter, that’s pretty much gone the way of no sleeves. My years of ecstatic clapping at the repeated performances of others are pretty much over. I am the second-act Maude Gonne without the political agenda.
Yet, thinking over my wide aquaintance, very few of the people I know seem fun-loving, with the possible exception of my business partner, who’s got enthusiasm nailed. But enthusiasm may not really be a synonym for fun-loving. Fun-loving has a “Hey let’s all tumble into the convertible and go berry-picking” quality about it which even Pam does not possess.
Just how fun-loving IS a really grown-up person? How breezy and light the average business-owner in the midst of a recession who spends his days working and nights mentally totalling the month's receipts against the payroll? Do most responsible people spring about, dancing small jigs of happiness, enthralling others with their cheery charm when they are dragging a bouquet of mortgages and wondering where the next big contract is going to come from?
If they do leave it at the office, have the ability to turn off the worries, really let it all go, then I think them rare and brilliant. A loosening of the old bonds is probably a healthy idea, given the price of metoprolol. Yet for me, describing a person as "fun-loving" after the age of 25 has the distinct ring of “someone else is paying the rent.” The exception to this rule is friend Karen Irish who defies pigeon-holing and works like a dog and is truly fun-loving. But she's such an exceptional person that I hesitate even to mention her.
I vow to reliquish my somber personality. To this end, I have created my new “get fun-loving fast” action plan. I’m pretty sure it's going to work for me, and I recommend it to you, should you want to be thought of as a chuckling, living-in-the-moment kind of person.
1. Avoid thinking of death first thing in the morning. Hold back on mental images of torture until after lunch. If you must know what's going on in the world, get others to read the censored NY Times headlines to you.
2. Practice a purring giggle. This may not feel comfortable at first. You may feel more comfortable with warbling sweet nothings like, “If you leave your wallet in the unlocked car one more time for someone to reach in and steal I’m going to knock your head off,” but leave it alone, let it go, and invoke the purring giggle.
3. Every time you think a negative thought, switch your bracelet to the other arm. Count how many times you switch and try to reduce daily. Use And D ointment to quell skin irritation due to bracelet-changing.
4. Learn to perform fun gags and rib-tickling.
5. Poise a pail of water over the cracked door your husband walks through after a long day, and wait for the fun to begin.
I’m hoping this shape-up plan works on me. Because being full of the zest for life is one of the great talents. After thirty, joy takes cultivation. This I have learned. Not fun. But true.