First off I will just say that I love my life! I have a great life! I am married to a wonderful, loving and attentive man. I have two healthy and beautiful children. I have good health, a lovely home, I don't have many of the concerns that other women face on a daily basis. So don't get me wrong, I'm not here to whine about life, but I am here simply to share something that I have noticed happening in my life....I suspect that it happens to many women out there. Have you lost YOURSELF. Do you really have friends?
I don't mean being lost in the woods, or can't find your car in the mall parking lot. I mean the kind of lost that comes with being a wife, mother, career woman. Before becoming a wife and mother, perhaps you enjoyed a greater sense of "who you are", or maybe you enjoyed traveling down that road to discover you true self. When I was in my early 20's I was not on any sort of "quest" to find out my purpose, my reason in life....but hell, I enjoyed it! I went to college, had a small group of good friends that I would party with. I enjoyed unlimited freedom, my only restraints were lack of money. It was fun...I enjoyed myself.
I met my husband when I was 23. We hit it off immediately. As a matter of fact, we have barely been apart since our first date. Now that to some degree is sickeningly sweet, but on the other hand you might think "Oh man...no time apart. She must be nuts!" I would agree with both sentiments. We quickly became one of those "old married" couples who finish each others sentences, can communicate just by a mere look. Most of the time it is great. But then there are those times when I run into one of the gals on my street. You know, one of those hip moms, who always look well put together, well rested, well dressed (God I hate them sometimes). They may invite me out for a drink, or to go shopping....and sadly the first thing that pops into my mind is "Gee...isn't Lost on the tube tonight. We were going to watch that tonight and eat ice cream..." I now realize that this is utterly ridiculous and all boils down to the reason for this post.
I recently realized that I really don't have any "Girlfriends"! Seriously! Sure I have those gals that I chat to maybe once a month, but that is not a deep friendship. Socially I have become a freakin' hermit! I don't even know how it happened. I found myself in front of my house yesterday playing with the kids when a neighbor from across the street waved hello. I found myself getting nervous, shy almost. This very woman is somebody that I have always liked very much, we used to spend quite a bit of time together back when our kids were infants and I organized a local playgroup. So I bit the bullet and went over to chat with her. At first it felt awkward, even though it should not have. But then we were talking with another neighborhood lady...and I realized that I have cut myself off from so many possible friendships over the years. I sat there listening to these two women you seem to have shared quite a bit of social time together and felt like a social outcast. I have become the wallflower. I have made some stupid choices to watch Jack Bauer save the world rather than foster a healthy, real friendship.
Not only does it hurt to realize that I did this to myself, but I also recognized that I am hurting my kids as well. I look down my little street full of young families. I see most of the neighbor kids outside playing with each other and mine are inside with me. This is not my kids choice, it is mine. I often find myself choosing solitude over companionship and this is not always the right choice. My kids know the other ankle biters on the street only in passing. They are not pals. They don't play together. To make it worse, my kids are the only ones on the street that go to a different school, most of the others go to the same school. So is it not up to me (parents) to get these kids out and socialize them with kids in the hood?
So I have vowed to change this. 2010 will become the year of Building Friendships. I tried this a long time ago when my son was first born and ran a small mom and tot playgroup. There were some regular members whom I really enjoyed seeing. But sadly we all drifted apart when life's obligations caught up with us. Most of those ladies returned to work and I was one of the only stay at home moms. For a while after the original group disbanded I tried to get new members, but just didn't click with too many people. They I tried to arrange moms nights out. This became frustrating because they never worked out the way I planned...eventually I gave up. I think I became a bit cynical about arranging social gatherings and just did not see the point of trying anymore. Now I am back to wishing that I kept trying. If I had stuck it out and continued being the neighborhood social director, I just might not be feeling this way right now! I might actually have a close friend or two. So to start, I joined a women's social club. There! It may be awkward at first, I am sure I will come up with every excuse to not go to events, but dammit I will do it if it kills me!
I need a better Me. One who is socially outgoing, has a few really good friends and one who teaches my kids that while having time to yourself is certainly valuable, social solitude can often lead to severe feelings of loneliness and depression, all things I have experienced. I hope my kids continue to be outgoing, smart and make friends easily. But if I don't set an example this may come harder for them than other kids.
So wish me luck on my new journey. To be honest it scares me a bit. Being close to someone means that you reveal yourself to them. The real you, warts and all....and man do I have alot of warts!