The Lonely Adult

I never knew being an adult would be so lonely.

There. I said it.

I’ve accepted that adulting is hard. I’m resigned to the fact that being a grown up isn’t the cake walk of freedom, independence, and no bedtime that I was led to believe it would be.
But I’m only just realizing that it is lonely. And I’m not sure if that’s my fault, or if it’s simply my perception, or if my mind is just messing with me as I approach the downhill slope toward 40. And while I don’t wish the feeling on anyone else, in a way, I do hope it isn’t just me and my over-active imagination.

When you’re a kid, you have friends. You go to school and you meet people. I suppose I had this idea that being an adult and having a job would be much the same. I have friends. Lots of friends. I have a small circle of friends I’m really close with, though for one reason and another we don’t get to just hang out much.  I sometimes feel a bit sad, maybe even a bit left out, when I see people meeting for lunch, laughing over appetizers, and visiting each other just to chat. But everyone, including myself, is so damn busy.

Busy.

Busy.

Busy.

I’m one of the least busy people I know. Maybe that’s part of the reason it seems like a lonely time of life. I am not a fan of busyness. I don’t want to be one of those families who is running from one practice to another, to a game, to a recital, to a business dinner, to a lecture, to a volunteer meeting….I do not function well in that kind of situation. A week when we have things going on just 3 or 4 nights puts me in a stupor from which it takes another week to recover! Thankfully, at least so far, my kid is very similar. She’s even more of a homebody than I am, so we don’t have the, “But I never get to do anything,” fight. (Yet.)

But still, when I look around, I see people doing things, going places, having lunch dates, and I think, “Am I just a complete and total weirdo???”

Now, I’m the first to admit, that I AM a bit of a weirdo. If I’m honest, I know that the things I like to do, and to see, and the places I enjoy going, are a bit different in many ways. I don’t know a lot of 39 year old moms who will happily spend an entire afternoon playing Skyrim or trying to get every single stud in a Lego video game. In pretty much any social situation I find myself in, I’m the only so-called mature adult geeking out over the latest Marvel movie news or Harry Potter collectible. I don’t remember the last time I met someone who had read Les Miserables or the Lord of the Rings trilogy and actually wanted to sit down and discuss it over coffee. And, although my daughter enjoys Celtic music with me, she doesn’t get quite get my obsessive delving into the history of the songs and researching every single song every single artist I like has recorded.

(*sidenote* I’m so thankful to live in a world with the internet! I’ve “met” so many people who are like-minded, who enjoy the same things, and have made a few priceless friendships that I hope to keep forever!)

A few years ago, I decided to see Once, the Musical, when it toured a couple of hours from me. My husband and some family members couldn’t understand why I would go alone. I went alone because a.) I could laugh and cry to my heart’s content without worrying about someone with me thinking I was losing it, and b.) I didn’t know anyone who would be interested in going. At least, not the kind of interested that would accept my level of laughing and crying. (See point A.)

I’m the type of fan who doesn’t “like” things. I tend to obsess. I don’t know why. When I get interested in a song/show/book/movie/artist, etc, I want to find out EVERYTHING I can about it. When I read Les Miserables a few years ago, I wanted to study it. My husband laughed (and poked a bit of fun) at my Les Mis binder, in which I collected maps, notes on the history surrounding the story, the French Revolution, and Victor Hugo himself.

As much as I enjoy not having a bunch of obligations, I do like to go places and experience things. I just don’t get to all that often. Or at least I haven’t, for the most part. Going to see a musical on my own a couple of years ago did a lot for me. And I’ve decided now, seeing as I love musicals, that I am going to do my best to see at least one every year. I’ve never been a huge concert-goer, they just aren’t my thing. But I did treat myself and my daughter to seeing Celtic Thunder last year. It was such a great experience, just going and enjoying the music, singing along, and seeing these guys whose voices I adore up close! I’m going to see two of my favorite artist from the group in a small concert later this year. And I’m super excited!

I share all of this because, like I said in my last (mostly incoherent post), I figure there has to be another person or two out there who feels much the same as I do. I can’t be the only one. And if that is you, Reader, I hope I can encourage you not to wait until someone wants to go with you to see that show or that concert or that movie. It’s ok to enjoy things by yourself. (Besides, you don’t have to share the popcorn that way!) It’s wonderful to find someone who likes the same things you do, someone with whom you can be your full-on geeky self, but be ok with your own company too. It’s lonely sometimes, but it’s freeing too. And you never know, you just might meet someone else who likes the same things you do and find a friend for life.

Advertisements

Being OK with Being Me (part 1?)

I’ve debated with myself for a while about sharing some of this. I don’t even know for sure what I actually want to say. I just know there are things itching to get out – ponderings, misunderstandings, and conflict swirling in my brain and begging to be released.

I’ve been wondering a lot lately how we so-called grown ups make friends. You know what? It’s harder than it was as a kid.

For the most part, I’m ok with that. As far as girlfriends go, I have a small (really, quite small) group of friends who are the ones I know I can go to, the ones who hear my worries and my most embarrassing moments. I have one (really, just one) who actually knows my deep, closely held fears, the friend who took me by surprise. But none of those friends live near me. Some days I wonder if there’s something wrong with me that prevents me from ever getting a, “Hey  loser, meet me for lunch today,” but I can usually remember that we’re all busy, we all have our minds going in a zillion directions at any given time, and that it probably has nothing to do with me.

Still, being a grown up, I’m learning, is lonely sometimes. I see those moms who DO have those friendships, and I wonder how it happened.
15032755_10154668904521704_5670873838429391269_nThen I realize that either they’ve known each other since before adulthood, or their kids have activities in common. That’s when some of it begins to make more sense. My kid is like me – the things she enjoys aren’t the things most of her peers enjoy.  She spends her time reading, playing video games, learning how computers work, and the one sport she participates in is tennis, which it seems no one around here has discovered. (Seriously, WHAT is that about? Why aren’t more kids into tennis?!)

As for me, I don’t know a lot of gals in real life who play video games, geek out over Marvel movies and British television, and who are crazy about fantasy stories like those given to us by Rowling, Tolkien, and Lewis. I don’t know many who have the compulsion to obsessively seek out every little bit of information about things they find interesting and/or entertaining. (Trivial Pursuit anyone?)

As I said, I debated about sharing. Don’t misunderstand – it isn’t a, “Please be my friend,” sort of share. But it IS a, “Please don’t feel like you’re the only one,” sort of share. I know that if I’ve discovered this not-quite-pleasant-but-it’s-all-ok aspect of adult life, there are likely to be other moms out there who have too. I just thought maybe you’d like to hear that it isn’t you. There are a lot of us out there who feel a bit like a social pariah, who just don’t seem to fit anywhere.

You be you. Embrace your inner weirdness and appreciate the square peg that you are.

After all, there’s no one else in the world exactly like you, and obviously God thought this world needed you.