There’s this scene in Mamma Mia where Meryl Streep looks wistfully at the sky in her overalls as she wanders around doing repairs and paying bills and says nostalgically, “I used to have fun…”. The context being her 20 year old daughter is there with her friends and they are having fun.
When I first saw Mamma Mia I was 23 and…I was having fun. Honestly I started having fun when I was fourteen. I partied hard in high school. I actually partied less in college than high school…not to say that I didn’t party though. Then my 20’s, well the first half of them, was freaking phenomenal.
I know this sounds bad coming from a mental health professional- but in this post I’m just a woman. And I don’t regret one freaking hangover or bar fight or spontaneous dance on a stage with two gay boys who totally choreographed with me in my hat…because I had a good freaking time.
Then my 30’s came along and boom. Kids. Dad died. Divorce. Kids. Work. Kids. Work. It became super un-fun. Okay well still fun, in very different ways.
My 20’s were filled with pee your pants laughter. And not because I had a weak bladder due to carrying twins. But because the shit I got into was that hilarious. Especially when we filmed it. Which we did. Often.
I still don’t regret any of it. I don’t regret falling on my butt in an icy parking lot in front of about 100 people on my birthday after drinking prosecco with some of my best friends at the time and then sliding on my stomach over to my friends car because I was too scared to try walking again. I don’t regret filming me and another nurse in the bathroom at a staff Christmas party doing…well things…and then going out to show literally every one at the party…I don’t regret the many times I went skinny dipping-everywhere I could-, and the dancing. All the dancing. OH and even that time I fell down the stairs, didn’t drop my drink, and then yelled “Lesbian sex is awesome” in the middle of the gay bar.
I don’t regret the five years of attending the “herbal conference” in New Hampshire where we brought tents, danced around a fire, ran through the woods and the lake and “studied herbs”. We were told repeatedly we could not dance or swim naked. That place was wild.
Right now my life has less raucous fun. And it has less people in it who I had that fun with. Which sucks. But se la vie right? People move. Friendships change.
There is fun and laughter now but different fun and laughter than in my 20’s and I am damn glad I had my 20’s to make me into the somewhat serious 38 year old whose eyes twinkle with restrained laughter when my 20’s clients tell me about their hijinks. Because internally I’m like…I got you beat.
And that pee in your pants fall on your butt dance on the stage 20 something is still in me. Waiting to re-emerge when I’m through this serious Mama phase.
When I first saw Mamma Mia I remember identifying more with 20 year old Amanda Seyfried. Falling in love. My future ahead of me. But now at 38, I saw Meryl Streep say that line and I was like damn. I feel that. When did I become the parent in all these movies of my youth? Age 30 and 11 months. That’s when.
I spend my days treating the mentally ill and supervising employees. I spend my afternoons, evenings, and weekends parenting two seven year old boys. Not a lot of time for raucous fun. I spend it dealing with school about whichever boy is not listening this week or acting up on the bus or presenting at the assembly. I chauffeur to karate and basketball. I became this Mom Boss lady and while I love the confidence and not give a fuck attitude that my 30’s brought I can’t help but every so often stopping in the midst of a moment with the boys and thinking wistfully to the Summer fling when I was 22 that led to an embarrassing I don’t remember you moment when he moved in with a friend…or the Halloween parties, or, well everything wrapped up in that moment “I used to have fun….” because yeah Meryl. I feel that. Hard.
There was also a stripper.
And sharp-ied mustaches.
I think the dancing on stage with the gay boys was the best though. I think they were actually getting paid to be there and I sorta hopped up with them and we all gelled so the club people let me stay. It. Was. Amazing.
Halloween NYU. Epic.