Friday, January 20, 2012

Sometimes I Feel Old

I need to take a moment and be painfully honest with myself.  I'm getting older *sigh*.
Have you ever felt like a younger person in an older person's body?  I had an experience the other night that made me really step back and look at my life.  Sitting in a restaurant, I watched and listened as the people sitting around me made plans to go here and there, off with friends.  A couple of them were headed to a small, neighborhood bar for good conversation with highly intelligent people, another was headed to a Salsa dance lesson with a friend.  And as I sat there two things came creeping into my mind...first, I felt a twinge of jealously (hey, I'm only human) and second, I felt old and dull. 

"I used to do things like that", I said to myself....and in that moment I became very aware that the fun loving girl I used to be, is almost gone, having been replaced by someone else.  Someone boring and responsible.  And it bothered me.  What happened to me?

Now please keep in mind I'm not looking for pity or anything like that, I'm just becoming very aware of where my life is right now.  And it's not that I don't like my life...I do!  And most of the time I'm okay with being a "homebody", a wife, and a mom, and a person who goes to bed at 9:30 because the dishes are done, the laundry is put away and there just isn't anything else to do.  I live a simple, happy life.  But once in awhile (like last night) I miss my old life.  I miss having friends, and going out, whether it be to the mall, the symphony, or a football game.

I grew up in a family that loved to entertain, and we lived in a small town so we always had neighbors over. Sometimes they just stopped by for a beer, sometimes for BBQ, or game night, and they all brought their kids along.  So it's not like their social life changed after having kids.  No, it was family fun, kids and all.

Love this vintage photo of a backyard BBQ!

This is still my favorite painting.  It's Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir.  It shows a group of friends gathered together having fun.
When I was in college my apartment was the hub of my friends, I was like Monica from friends, except I wasn't a neat freak.  There was always someone there asking "what's the plan for this evening?"  We went fishing and camping, played cards, went to the races, or would head out to the country to watch the northern lights.  We would sometimes sit at Perkins 'till midnight drinking coffee, writing poetry and just talking about life.  We swore we'd never fall into the trap of driving mini-vans, 9pm curfews and above all we swore we'd never let our art suffer.  Well, it was a nice thought at the time, but we all grew up. Many of us moved away, one of us went on to be a high school drama teacher, one a history teacher, and one isn't with us anymore, which was a reminder to us all of how quickly it can all end. And ultimately our art did suffer. Now, we have normal jobs, responsibilities, kids and (gasp!) mini vans.

None of us are who we used to be.

And with growing up and getting married there are things I gained, like a husband who will always love me and stand beside me, and a wonderful daughter.  But there are also things I have lost.  Because I do not work outside the home, I have lost friends.  I have lost the ability to stay up past 10pm, I have lost the gift of gab (hanging out with 2 &3 year olds will do that to a person). Instead, I have become shy and uncertain of myself and my ideas.  I feel I've lost my sense of humor, because everything has gotten so serious.  Why does everything have to become so serious as we get older? 
When did my idea of fun become going to the library...alone?
Where are the BBQs and the game nights?
I promised myself I would never be bored so I've taken up numerous hobbies.  Maybe if I got out more my bedroom wouldn't look like a frickin Hobby Lobby! 

Is that fun-loving girl I used to be completely gone?

ALMOST but not completely.  Every Thursday night my husband and I go out with a small group of people and we talk religion.  And people who were once strangers are now becoming more like friends, and for that I am thankful.  They have helped me realized that the "younger me" is still inside of me.  And once in awhile on Thursday nights a little bit of her comes through, like I'm slowly getting the courage to be around people again.  Toes in the water, then ankles, then knees.  And for a moment on Thursday nights, there is a happy medium of who I am now and who I once was. 

I just wish this happy medium could stay with me all week long.  It's not that I would go out every night to achieve this happy feeling, I do like being at home.  I just wish that I could stop being so careful and boring.  I wish I could learn to voice my opinions more and make some friends and get out and try new things!

I love this picture of neighbors enjoying a game of croquet together.  What happened to the days of backyard BBQs, barn dances and games....when people got together for fun?  Now it seems people work so hard during the week, the LAST thing they want to do is be with other people.  They want their weekends for themselves only.  For example, my husband would much rather spend his weekend watching movies than playing golf or going over to the neighbors for game night.  There's nothing wrong with that, because he's doing what he loves, but I would think it would start to get... kinda lonely.  

I will end this blog post with a bit of an article from Divine Caroline's Blog entitled "Why We Need Friends".  It really sums up how I feel about technology and how it can get in the way of "life".

"Even as modern technology increases our access to other people, our intimate relationships are becoming scarcer. Families are smaller and relatives don’t always live in close proximity anymore. More people work from home, and busy schedules and to-do lists keep us from connecting in a meaningful way.
That same modern technology that permits us to connect easily with people from all over the world also tends to get in the way of time spent in real face-to-face relationships. Our inborn desire for intimate relationships with other human beings is, for many of us, not being met."

How true this true.

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