Monday, October 17, 2011

How old are you?

I find myself in a unique situation.  It is difficult for me to find women (or people in general) in a similar situation as I which causes me often to feel disconnected from my friends.

I am blessed to have a ton of friends - work friends, neighbor friends, my kiddo's friend's parent friends, etc. but none of them are where I am in life.  It gets frustrating because I often feel like I don't connect with them. 

If I really think about I have had this feeling for about as long as I can remember.  I was the 4th child (baby of the family) with a 14 year spread in age from top to bottom.  Once my sibs left home by the time I was about 12, I was an only child.  All that is to say ~ not a lot in common within my own family circle.

Making the decision to start my family when I was WAY young also caused separation from my peers.  I was the only girl married with a 9 month old at my senior high school prom.   My friends went to college, moved on and had their life experiences.  Again ~ not much in common.

I was 23 years old when my son started kindergarten.  Talk about intimidating.  I had NOTHING in common with the 30 year old mom's of my son's friends.  I busted it to be just like the other mom's all through my 20's ~ more responsible than my age, totally involved in school, etc.  I ended many friendships that I perceived as immature, because grown ups didn't drink and go out and act silly.  Mature parents did all the right things, said all the right things, always acted appropriately.  Again ~ disconnected.

I attended my son's high school graduation when I was 36.  Oh yeah, that would be common.  NOT.  Most of my son's friend's parents were in the late forties or fifties.  If they were graduating their youngest kids, some of them were even in their SIXTIES!  Some of them are talking retirement when I'm really at the turn of my career just taking off.  Grrr ~ disconnected.

The majority of my 20's and 30's I acted like someone I wasn't, trying to fit in and be "appropriate" to connect with others.  It was forced and uncomfortable much of the time.

Today, I'm often finding myself still there.  Yes, I have a second child who is in elementary school.  Yes, I live in a neighborhood with other elementary school kids.  Yes, my age on PAPER is close to those around me.  But still, a giant separation exists. I think it exists because although my hubs and I were finally blessed to have a second child together, he came much later than the first born. 

I've been married almost 20 years (23 if you count the first one which I rarely do!).  I have very few friends with that longevity and those that do have it are in their late forties, early fifties with their kids out of the house.  The hubs and I have been through it all and still learn everyday how to appreciate each other for the people we have (and are) becoming.  We throw down like no other ~ in the best of ways and sometimes not so great ~ but that passion is what keeps us together.  Our marriage is SO much better than it was even 10 years ago when we were struggling to raise a young man.

I've experienced being a mother from birth to adulthood ~ I've been tired and disconnected from my spouse, I've set rules and expectations in my marriage as to what the right mom and dad's look like,  I've tried to "keep up with the Jones'" ~ buying all the right brands, all the right toys, all the right STUFF.  I've waited up at night for the teenager to come home, watched him marry and become a father.

I am less than 10 short years away from downsizing, simplifying life TREMENDOUSLY and living my true, non-materialistic self.  And all my current friends?  Well, they won't get me (again).  They will think I'm weird because I'm not like them ~ I can just hear it now "JD, you aren't OLD, you are exactly our age!"  When I slowly duck out of the lime light of social media, material objects and "required participation" I am sure they will be perplexed.  Probably think I've lost my mind, become introverted and depressed or something.  But friends - it isn't about my age.

What they don't know now that they will learn when they are where I am now is that I had years of life experience ahead of them.  That is why I am so comfortable in my skin and don't care what others think of me.  I've already been through where they are now and I'm out on the other side of it by a significant amount of years.

Yep, act like I'm 50 but I'm still in my thirties.  At least for another month!


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