Seriously … What Do Grown Ups Do for Fun?

by xoJane

grown up fun

I can keenly remember the last time that I had fun.

The year was 2009 and I was fresh off the heels of my 25th birthday. I was enjoying my surprise party, surrounded by a ton of friends who were buying me drinks, and I got hammered. It was awesome. At least until my ex boyfriend/Dark Lord of the Underworld had the audacity to show up. And then it wasn’t awesome.

Because, as I mentioned before, I was hammered. Blackout hammered. So I threw a total bitch fit. And chicken. I threw chicken. And possibly a bar stool. Or so I was told.

Afterward, I was effectively drunk-lunatic shamed, put into bed, and told to never speak of that event again. Until now.

Now I know that doesn’t sound like much fun. Most of the night I was a steaming hot ass mess. But before that 5th consecutive shot of Cuervo and the subsequent interruption in brain functioning, it was a blast. It was all my favorite people, great food, great music, completely uninhibited dancing, crazy antics, noise, and side-splitting, tears down my face laughter. It was fun.

And up until that night, I had that level of fun almost every weekend. There were always friends, clubs, bars, and house parties. But somewhere around the time I turned 25, it all slowed to a halt. All of a sudden, fun was almost exclusively reserved for birthday parties, vacations, and special occasions. There was no regularity to it. No more just for the heck of it, no work tomorrow, air in my lungs, happy to be alive, Friday night fun.

I understand what happened. Life happened. Babies happened. Husbands happened. “Real” jobs and limited sick days happened. So the plethora of friends who used to be available for spontaneous weekly fun has dwindled down to a very, very short supply.

And aside from the blackout incident at my party scaring me square, there’s also plain ol’ maturity. I just don’t enjoy going out to the club/bar, my former stomping grounds of fun, anymore.

I knew that tide had officially turned during a trip to Atlanta, one year after my 25th birthday party debacle. The Bestie and I were in our hotel room about to get ready to head out to the hottest urban club below the Mason Dixon line. And then Forrest Gump came on TBS.

I realized then that I would rather stay in the room and recite “Forrest Gump” verbatim for the gajillionth time than get in the shower, shave my legs, flat-iron my hair, put on evening make up, put on heels, decide I don’t like those heels, put on different heels, walk to the car in those heels, drive 40 minutes, look for a parking spot for 30 minutes, walk to the club in heels, pay a $20 cover, pay $10 for a bottom shelf cran’ and vodka, and then stand in an overly crowded room, get hit on, sweat my hair out, and have my personal space violated (in heels!).

But I went anyway, and spent the entire night wishing I was in my hotel bed watching Forrest run. I’ve been at home watching Netflix ever since. And until recently, I’ve been OK with that. But I’m ready to have fun again.

Problem is, I don’t even know what fun looks like for an almost-30-year-old me. Is there a happy medium between the fun of dancing on top of the bar until 4am and the mild delight of streaming a weekend long “Saved By The Bell” marathon?

This post originally appeared on XOJane. Republished with permission. Click here for more Shayla on XOJane! 

  • Kris

    Wow! You are ONLY almost 30yrs old and you don’t know what fun looks like? That’s kind’ve sad. No girlfriends to hang with? I’m 31yrs old and why I do have a husband (no babies) I have a great amount of friends that either have gatherings at there homes, I’m open to a lounge or bar, sexy date night out with the hubby, hitting happy hour with my girls or co-workers, etc… You only get one life, go live it and Have Fun!

  • Jessica

    Girl I feeel you. I really really do. I’m 28 and sometimes I feel super lame because i’d rather chill on my couch and watch Shah’s of Sunset than go out. I mean sometimes the though of the shower/waxing/blowdrying/afro fluffing/going through 10 outfits/etc. But every once in a while I do wanna have some adult type fun but i’m ever sure exactly how.

  • ChaCha1

    My idea of fun has changed over the past few years (I’ll be 30 next year). The stuff that was fun to me in my late teens to mid 20′s is now boring. If you still expect the same things to be fun your whole life, then you’re in for a lot of disappointment. Once one thing stops being fun, find something else that fits.

    (Also, as a mostly-introvert, I never really got the whole idea that partying hard or clubbing was the only way to live it up, but that’s just me. I remember telling people that I didn’t really like clubs or large parties, and in disbelief, they’d frown and be like, “Oh. Well…what do you do for fun??”)

  • NyTiaPatrice

    Oh so I’m not the only one having this issue. Hahahaha I’m 25 and actually been living this bland lifestyle for a year or so. I can totally relate. I can chill in the bed watching the Food Network all day.Since graduating from my undergrad , all my friend live in other states . I wish there was a happy medium.

  • Alexandra

    I was just talking with my friend about this. I’ve honestly been thinking of things I always wanted to do and just doing them. That and planning out of town getaways. I also started a weekly event with my friends where we work on creative projects together. Also want to start a monthly night. All I can say is it takes some extra effort. The only real difference between the way we are now and the way we used to be is that we can’t drink as much and we value being able to hear each other talk more. I don’t think that means we can’t have fun.

  • bored

    I really need help. My husband says I’m boring because I would rather watch Netflix all weekend…not feeling the clubs though!

  • Alexandra

    So true. It’s not getting old or being lazy. It’s getting bored because you’ve already done that type of adventure numerous times. On to something new! I think we’re guilt tripped into thinking we’re “no more fun” because we no longer fit into this notion of how youth culture is supposed to behave.

  • Yvette

    I would suggest trying Meetup. Lots of fun activities with grown ups that don’t necessarily involve drinking – book clubs, hiking, etc

  • ChaCha1

    Well dang, it’s like so many people think the only choices are clubs or sitting at home watching tv.

  • Kristiana

    Wow, way to be supportive.

    “That’s kind’ve sad. No girlfriends to hang with?”

    Happy to hear that you have tons of friends and a husband…but try to answer her question without being a prick. Thanks.

  • beautiful mic

    If it could, I’d do more broadway, live jazz shows…but those forms of entertainment aren’t as plentiful (or cheap) as others.

    i’d travel more, for fun, if I could; and take more artsy fartsy classes.

  • Genese Jamilah

    You all should check out my website, I Don’t Do Clubs, we post events daily for Black professionals who are over the club scene.

  • Mademoiselle

    If I may make some suggestions:

    Live jazz: a lot of cities have free jazz concerts during the summer months if you check the websites of your locale (try neighboring cities too, performing arts centers, parks and recreation websites, etc.)
    Broadway: try off-off-off-off-off Broadway by hitting up community theatres that may be cheaper alternatives (if you’re open to a little less “production” but plenty of acting and storyline)
    Travel: try a new (creative) take on road trips by using Megabus (I promise I don’t work for them). They often have really great deals for as low as $1 if you book far enough in advance (I went to DC once for $10 total), so if you don’t mind bus rides, you could save on flights and still see different parts of the country.
    Arts classes: in some areas, the high schools that provide GED classes to the community also have random continuing education options that might include art, computer sciences, etc… check the schools’ websites in your area to see if they have adult classes that may be free or cheap. Also, I just learned that Home Depot still gives lessons on home decorating skills (if you’re into adding motifs to your accent wall, and stuff like that). Check your local libraries’ calendars too — sometimes they offer a variety of classes also.

    Also, if you work for a large company in a metropolitan city, there may be discount programs you can leverage if you check with HR or sometimes just show your badge at the place you want to patronize and ask if they have a partnership with your company.

    And, if you watch local TV (NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, CW) on early Saturday mornings, sometimes they advertise community events that you may not have heard were coming up (antique shows, car shows, flea markets, youth fairs, festivals, art exhibits, etc)

  • Andrea

    I’m 29 and all partied out. I could also blame my lack of partying on the boredome that is Richmond, VA. Feel you!

  • Millie

    I am 28 and while I still like clubbing. I understand that sometimes clubbing can be overated and boring. Here are some things you can do in your late 20s and 30s to have fun:

    Game nights: invite all your close friends and associates for a few rounds of spades, taboo, and other card games. You dont have to get dolled up to sit around a living room to play games.

    Day parties: Most major cities have them. They end early just case you have work in the am or dont like being out too late.

    Date nights: Get all dolled up go to a new restaurant or event with your boo. Hell get a nice hotel room do it big…role play!

    Girls night: Have a passion party or take a pole dancing class with your besties. It should be interesting and you might learn something new.

    Happy hour: The drink specials are normally good/cheap and you can go out with your favorite co workers.

    Travel: You dont have to go far maybe check out a jazz festival in a city near you or Caribbean festival or latin festival. Its fun to branch out . Me and my girls went to the Jamaican Jerk festival and had a great time and had some good Jerk Chicken.

  • Mademoiselle

    I really tried to stay away from this, but can someone please explain to me what’s going on with homegirl’s hair on the left? I keep staring, hoping I’ll have an aha moment for what it could look like from the front that wouldn’t be so … ?

    Is it half-braided or half-unbraided and why?

  • dirtychai

    I don’t have as many friends around to hang out with, but I have a have a great time playing club sports with other professionals, taking art and language classes, and going to meetups just to talk and have drinks. I admit that I miss having girlfriends around, but there are many other fun activities besides hopping from bar to club to bar.

  • binks

    Well as you age and mature you definition of fun changes and is more refined as it should. What I thought was fun in my early 20s I cringe and the things O thought was boring is now fun. The big tip I can give is EXPLORE/DATE your city. People would be surprised about how many events happened or went on that they missed (plus it is a great way to network and get to know the moving and shakers of your city and rub elbows)….

  • Millie

    I dont understand this half braided pictures!!!!!!

  • binks

    Yeah it is…it looks like individual/box braids she did on her own hair but left the length un- braided probably for a twisty,curly or blown out look.

  • laneé

    I can definitely relate! I’m 26 and I’ve been on a slump from having fun, I rarely go out…getting pretty and dressed up is reserved for special occasions now. Recently I’ve been really busy with school, work and trying to get a career going but I do want to squeeze in more time for fun.

    I told my bff we should do traditional monthly dinners or brunches with a group of girls, go to an event once a month (concert, play, festival), mini trips every couple of months ( a short road trip for the weekend). Something, anything because I AM SO BORED!! The main problem is that it’s harder to meet friends as an adult, I have friends but I would like more meaningful friendships, not just party/ going out friends…that’s the challenge I’m trying to overcome now. But I do suggest game nights as well, those are always fun. Also try

  • The Mighty Quinn

    Guurrl! Try taking out that bucket list! If you don’t have one, make one, better yet, at a get together, you and your girls should read them off. At least you will have a start and in a group of friends, you can see who shares what, maybe you can do something together. When I was your age, I had not yet learn to be comfortable with traveling on my own.

    The face of fun changes tremendously as you get older for most. For some they stay stuck in what I call the “glory days” of old because they are bored with their (usually) married lives, so for a lot in my hometown, it was high school a hundred years ago. Move on already right? When I was a kid and say I was bored, my mom would say “Are you bored or are you boring?”Which would always leave me pondering that question.

    I lived in NYC when I was your age, up from a podunk Southern town, so I was hungry for culture and all the excitement the Big Apple could bring.

    You are right, life happens and it is happening now for you. I always say “Your twenties is about self exploration” and I find that young women are working so hard on getting married by a certain age, they forget to live and forget to know who they are. You get married and discover wow 30′s is not old after all and then start, the coulda, shoulda, wouldas.

    You only live once, if you live right, once is enough……Go get em Gurl!

  • Liz

    “in the shower, shave my legs, flat-iron my hair, put on evening make up, put on heels, decide I don’t like those heels, put on different heels, walk to the car in those heels, drive 40 minutes, look for a parking spot for 30 minutes, walk to the club in heels, pay a $20 cover, pay $10 for a bottom shelf cran’ and vodka, and then stand in an overly crowded room, get hit on, sweat my hair out, and have my personal space violated (in heels!).”

    Yes Yes and more Yes…. thinking about this whole process usually keeps me home. Cosign with Mademoiselle!!

  • Chelley5483

    Same issue here. I’ll be 30 in May and I can’t for the life of me figure out what to do to have more (outside) fun. Need to really commit to the groups on Meetup and the events on Yelp this year. It saddens me that I was thrilled to watch Love Jones three times in a row last Saturday, after watching it at least 30 times before. My hanging partners are my little girls, 12 and 2, and while that may be fun I really reeeeaaaallly need some adult time. My 50 year old mother has more fun than I do at this point. So sad.

  • DownSouth Transplant

    Well it is box braids for sure, however it is where you braid just the roots & leave the rest unfinished, big ‘fro kind of look , but I maybe wrong

  • P

    The club scene really doesn’t interest me anymore. On the other hand, I will go to the club to support friends if they are celebrating their birthdays there. We attend concerts, jazz festivals and broadway shows which is all pretty much the norm.

    I’m, but I noticed when I truly have fun (non-stop) laughter is when I participate in sports activities. In which I don’t do often because I have a hard time finding friends who would like to participate. I like going rock climbing, skiing (really can’t ski – which is why it’s so much fun), kayaking, laser tagging. And even bowling. My gf and I are currently planning an indoor skydiving trip. I’ve never been, so I’m looking forward to that. I think adults have to actively pursue different activities to have fun depending on who they are. As for me, I can become easily bored especially if it involves the same outings and events. The club scene was one of the first places you visited after you were no longer under your parents’ restrictions. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to dance so a house party never gets old or boring.

  • writingandwellbeing

    I swear I was just thinking of this the other day. I am at that age too when the club has become passe and you can only go to so many happy hours before it gets old. I love game nights (Taboo and Geusstures are my favorite). Bowling and karaoke nights are fun when you have a sizeable group of friends to do it with.

  • Princess Di

    Exactly. We should be uplifting each other, not bringing each other down with petty comments.

  • ChaCha1

    Thanks for those ideas!

  • Ravi

    looks good to me. way better than the other two.

  • Ravi

    what’s fun for me hasn’t really changed much over the years:

    video games,
    comic books,
    random get-togethers with friends,
    amusement parks,
    anything involving playing or watching sports,
    board games,
    the zoo,
    walking around aimlessly in an unexplored area of a cool city,
    talking/chatting online with friends,
    cruising the internet,
    social networking,
    professional conferences,
    working out,
    going to the movie theater,
    going to a concert,
    going to a play,
    going to a cool restaurant,
    and listening to music.

    There are others but I got tired of listing them.

  • KemaVA

    I just bought a bicycle and I felt like a little kid. It was so much fun. There’s plenty to do as an adult.

  • Caro51

    I was just reading the comments and and it made me laugh a little bit because I’m only 21 and I hate going to parties. I’d rather stay home, read a book or watch tv shows while sipping on some tea. My friends say I’m boring and that I should have more fun. Going to jazz concerts or to the gym, visiting museums, reading, going to the cinema, dancing in my room with the music turned up are my ideas of having fun.

  • Mademoiselle

    Um. ok. That’s very far from my view on the 3 hairstyles. I may not be into straight hair, but I “get” what the other 2 are going for. The half done hair makes me feel like I’m looking at a riddle.

  • Ravi

    I also get what they are going for. Getting what you are going for and looking good are two completely different things. Regardless of what their intentions were, the half braided style looks better than the other two styles to me, by far. The other two look pretty basic and average. And I like riddles.

  • Mademoiselle

    GOL! (gasp out loud — in case it’s not already an established shorthand)

    You and your friends like all the same things I like, but I hardly ever have anyone to do them with! I did not realize so many black people are anti-water activities (really anti-anything that sounds like it requires more skill than sitting/standing/dancing/talking, to be honest). The last time I got to go kayaking/canoeing was when I lived in the Midwest years ago — my own brother even clowned me when I came home with a sunburn after being on the water so long. I haven’t been skiing in a couple years, and I stopped just short of begging my friends to go laser tagging with me last year because I was running out of dignity. BUT! If I overheard you talking about this in public, I would shamelessly take it back to the way I used to make friends circa 1995 and ask you “Do you wanna be my friend????” and save all that “we should do lunch” adult-talk for the friends I can only do lunch with. (Maybe I’d drop a couple of the question marks so I can retain some of this adult-cool lol)


  • Mademoiselle

    Ehhh… ok. If my only 2 options are basic or confused, I go for basic. Maybe the half-braided style looks better from the front, but it definitely won’t be getting stored in my “Must Try” folder.

  • Ravi

    Different strokes and all that. I guess we have two different ideas of what looks confused. I would say if anyone looks confused, it’s the one on the back right.

    The half braided style looks creative, natural, and hot. I guess such hotness isn’t for everyone.

  • Mademoiselle

    lol (twice) @ “such hotness isn’t for everyone”

    re: confused, I don’t participate in the philosophical hair aesthetics argument — all 3 women are free 2 do what they like to their hair. I was only referencing my own confusion, no one else’s

  • Ravi

    Not sure how her hair confuses you, but I digress. Taste is subjective and luckily for me, she doesn’t share yours.

  • Rosey

    I’ve learned that even if you’re “young”. You NEED to have hobbies other than drinking. I took up knitting and soap making and it’s so much fun and relaxing. Just try a bunch of things and figure out what makes you relaxed and happy. It doesn’t need to be intellectual or serious…just relaxing.

  • Rosey

    I overused the word “relaxing”…welp, you get the point. :)

  • P

    Girl, I think I am coming out my shell or something. For the last couple of years, it has been really bad. I need new friends…LOL! I have a hard time with that. Anyway, I’m often told I just need to hang out with white people. I think that is sad rather than more of us venturing out towards anti-water skills or just adventurous activities..period. Like you said enough is enough of this sitting/standing/dancing/talking.

    I grew up running behind my brothers. I was sort of tomboyish until around 10 or 11, I think that is why I love adventure. It is soooo much fun to do daring and crazy things….Yes..I need to become more outgoing and hang with the type of people that are interest in these activities. Not missing out anymore…GOL! :)

  • hiphoppmommie

    I did a Cork and Canvas (wine and painting) class with friends and we had so much fun!!

  • chanela17

    glad to know i’m not the only one who just wants to sit in the house and not shower or do ish. lol

  • chanela17

    honey you just made my life with the damn megabus! WOW! it’s only $16 to go from california to vegas!

  • chanela17

    i would love to do that stuff but unfortunately out of all my friends i’m the only one with a job. it sucks when people fall on hard times and you can’t do anything unless you pay for everybody,

    i’m either stuck in the house or i go out with my fiance. hes my only friend now

  • chanela17

    lol same with me my mom is 58 and she goes out to parties with friends, concerts, shopping, spas and plays. i’ve never even been to a concert and im 23 0_o she has more of a life than i do and she knows it. her advice to me? “get some friends that have some money and you can have fun too”

  • BoutDatLove

    Oh, I thought her hair was braided with afro weave, but it looks like it could be her hair. Either way, her hair is cute. I was going to do the afro weave braided hair style last year (like the woman above) but I thought it would look ridiculous on me and was kind of pointless, since my hair was longer than the weave and I didn’t want my ends to dry out. I think everyone looks cute and happy in the picture. I’m not sure why anyone’s hair was important to comment on in the first place. @Millie Lastly, her hair is her hair, it is not meant for anyone to get or understand…. she can do what she wants, as well as the other ladies in the picture. On a side note, great article.

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