Is summer not quite close enough and your in-laws a little too close?  Have you been having thoughts of umbrella drinks and beaches by 10am?  Have you looked in the mirror and thought “Damn! I look ancient” and then turned away to try to avoid it?  Then, you my friend, are in need of a play date (or 50).  When was the last time you saw your friends?

Sometimes, you need to get out of a funk, to forget your 5000 issues, or to vent the way you do when your spouse promises to clean the house while you’re out taxiing kids, fighting the Walmart crowd, and going to the dentist only to come home to find the house not clean and “someone” playing video games.  That’s when you need a play date.  I can’t advocate for them enough.  Is it just me, or does it seems like we no longer make nearly enough time for our friends?  Apparently, our priorities get skewed as we get older.  Somehow, that damn to-do list takes over and it seems more important to get the house clean, pay bills, or get groceries than it does to have a few beers with some friends or go shopping after work.  What the hell is wrong with us???

The thing is that our perspective is a whole lot better after we’ve heard all our friends’ bullshit, too.  Suddenly, we aren’t alone in the quicksand of life or at least we won’t be the only ones sinking into the depths of laundry hell when we die.  There’s a lot to be said for that.  But it feels like I need to be your Public Service Announcement reminding you it’s okay to ditch your plans and make better ones.  So often we forget to have fun and then we’re sitting there being pissed off about our taxes, our job, or how to cure politics.  God help me, I do not want that for any of us!  That’s why it’s time to plan a play date.

Now, I have realized that play dates look a little different than they did a bajillion years ago.  Like the fact that in the old days, my friend and I would have stayed up most of the night before she came to visit talking on our non-cell-non-cordless phones discussing what we would be wearing to the concert tonight and how to do our hair.  Now days, I text her to ask what time she’ll be here and she tells me as soon as she can get away from the kids.  Our concerns have little to do with what we’re wearing and more to do with where we can go to eat beforehand and still beat the concert crowd so we can be drinking beers inside rather than waiting in a long line of traffic.  It may look different on the outside, but by song 3 (read that as drink 3) we will be swaying and screaming and taking pictures just like we would have 20 years ago.  I’m gonna wager there will be a smile on both our faces, too.  A much needed one at that.

Next week, I am going to see my group from college.  Just thinking about it makes me laugh.  I become 20 years younger, 2 octaves higher, and the happiest damn person on the planet when I am with them.  Like a soda pop on a hot day, they are refreshing.  There’s something about having friends that ask about your life and truly want to know about it that makes you feel loved.  (There’s also a lot to be said for having a few people around who see past all those flaws and support you anyway.  Read that as they will probably read this blog and know I was talking about them because they want me to be a successful writer, too.)

No matter how great your life is, or how fabulous your spouse and family are, we all need a break from them.  Perspective, my friends, is everything.  And somehow, after getting to bitch, drink, and reminisce about old times with friends, those damn socks next to the recliner or the trail of cheerios to the crib are a lot more endearing than annoying.  Amazing how a night out or a day shopping or a pajama party makes the daily grind look a little more rosy and a lot less like a black hole.  Just sayin’.

So I’m putting out a dare this week.  I double-dog dare you to go out and have a little fun with a friend or 10.  Make your play date.  Set up getting your nails done, round up a poker game with beef jerky and beer, sneak off for a late night walk around town (but please end it with king-size Snickers bars so the rest of us don’t feel bad for being underachievers), or meet for ice cream or cosmos after work.  Just pick up that phone and text a friend like a lifeline on Millionaire because you need this a lot more than you need the fridge cleaned out.  So put on your party shoes and let’s go be irresponsible for a couple of hours!

(P.S.  – feel free to post or send me all success stories of play dates this coming week.  Oh, but no drunk, nekkid photos though, okay?)