The time was 1983 when pop-culture princess Cyndi Lauper burst upon the music scene with her electrifying song, Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Forty-two years later, this multi-talented international superstar is heralded for more than 30 years as a celebrity singer/songwriter of new wave, rock and roll, and popular music. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1952, Lauper is a dedicated humanitarian activist and awaits June 2015 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
One of my favorite radio stations, Oldies, recently played Lauper's song,
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
I come home in the morning light.
My mother says when you gonna live your life right?
Oh mother dear, we're not the fortunate ones.
And girls they want to have fun.
Oh girls, just want to have fun.
-- Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Have Fun/ LYRICS © SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC
As I listened to the song, I thought, "That's what I want to do with senior living. I want to have fun. It's my time to have fun."
The journalist/teacher in me nagged, "Before you commit to having fun, check what Lauper's lyrics mean. The Internet summoned multiple sites with lyric experts explaining, exploring and decoding the song. On the surface, the subject is girls (slag for women/ladies) who work hard and want to party when work is over for that day. After work, like male counterparts, girls want to enjoy life and have fun, not stay home after work — continuing to work.
Delving deeper, the lyrics embrace Girl Power and resound with the enjoyment and empowerment that come with feminine solidarity. Prior to Girls’ release, feminism may have been implicit in an occasional pop lyric but was not a common theme. Through Lauper’s voice, women began to be heard: Girls don't just want to have fun. Like their male/guy counterparts, they want to be treated equally, with no female-related repercussions.
Girls and Fun of the 2000s
As I listen anew, the song acquires invigorated meaning. I am grateful for the many options that emerged through the three-plus decades of pop culture, feminism, activism, and trendsetters like Lauper.
In 1983, I was a newly-divorced single mother of three young children, and I worked hard at a full-time, stressful, demanding journalism career. Partying after work was not an option. Lauper's song was not about me.
In 2015, I am thankful as a woman, mother, grandmother, and as a senior. I can have fun and enjoy life any time, day or night. I cherish the independence to visit family, meet friends and attends events where I make my own fun happen. Senior Centers, libraries, fine arts activities, and diverse events are abundant - some free, some not. I have the joy of picking and choosing.
As a senior community resident, I am an elevator away from socializing with interesting and fun folks. Our monthly resident calendar includes in-house parties, movies, holidays and special events, lectures, academic studies, and exercise classes. If an activity is not on the calendar, we can make it happen.
For example, pet grooming is generally quite expensive and inconvenient. Our knowledgeable and caring manager recommended a mobile grooming service that comes to our senior community and charges a discounted price. Our Feline Fun Spa Day is March 25 — which transitions to the topic of Joan's Journey in mid-March — Pets and Senior Living.
Remember the 1980s? What was your definition of fun? Has your definition changed as a senior? We invite you to share your experiences in the Comment Box. Until our next Joan's Journey, enjoy the trip day-by-day.
Joan London is a freelance medical and social service writer who specializes in topics on aging. London moved from Maryland to California to enjoy life in a senior living community and enhance her quality of life by living closer to her children and grandchildren.