Day 26: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you’d like.
Last week, a friend sent me a link to this article, which I’ve now re-read several times just to re-capture the YES YES YES I felt when I first perused it.
“Being in your early thirties is really hard as a woman. It’s the decade of SO much change in our lives- where in one set of friends you can have one person with three kids, some pregnant, a handful childless, others not even engaged yet and some even ending their marriages. This diversity in lifestyles and milestones causes a tough dynamic between women that seems to get swept under the table because it’s simply too uncomfortable.”
It’s hard to make, and keep, friends while navigating the slippery sands of one’s thirties. Every milestone becomes a hurdle, and you either leap over it or faceplant right in front of it. If your friendships are to survive, you must be rubber-band flexible.
I think part of the difficulty stems from guilt. If you have single friends who want to be married, it’s hard telling them your boyfriend proposed. If you’ve discovered your attempts at conception have been successful, it’s a little gut-wrenching to tell a friend who has struggled with fertility. Conversely, if you’re the friend with the boyfriend who can’t commit, or the friend who has cried because she got her period AGAIN, it’s legitimately hard to be happy for others.
“It’s hard feeling like the odd girl out. The only one without a baby saddled on her hip. A great job, husband and house- yes- but not that one thing that seems to bind women together. It’s only natural for mothers, especially new moms, to spend more time with others going through what they are, but I can’t help but notice how motherhood sometimes draws a line in the sand between those with kids and those without. “
I was the first of my friends to have a baby, and rather than feeling like I had finally joined the Mommy Club, I felt like I’d been kicked out of the Childless Club. My friends were off having adventures, going to bars and staying out late and dating. And I was….not. I enjoyed hearing their stories, but I couldn’t join them very often, if at all. It was lonely. I was envious of their last-minute trips, of their freedom.
I have a group of five college friends, and we have remained close despite an intervening decade and many personal triumphs and tragedies. I don’t think any of our lives turned out the way we imagined when we were in college. We have pursued diverse paths, from the psychology professor to the addiction researcher to the theater manager. Three of us have buried our fathers. I think part of the reason we have remained friends is that, by and large, we are each happy with our own life, and keep the coveting to a minimum.
“It may not be a baby for you. It may be a ring, or a house, or a job. There is always something that makes you feel your life in not the one you had hoped or planned for. That there is something missing, incomplete or off. And the thing to remember is that it will ALWAYS be this way no matter what age you are. Instead of looking and the boxed left unchecked on our life “to do” list we should be looking at the ones we HAVE checked off.”
I’m making a concerted effort this year to be happier. Part of that is paying attention what is HERE NOW, rather than worrying about tomorrow or taking note of what you feel is missing.
“I am where I need to be. And I’ll be somewhere else soon enough.”