The things about living in suburbia, or being in your thirties married without kids, or just being me is this: you know how lucky you are to be who you are and have the experiences you have, and you love your life; but keep hoping that one day you'll fit in.
It's been a struggle this week, being happy with my social life. It's gorgeous this afternoon. 16 straight days of rain - including this morning - and then the sun was out. The weather clear and the sky a stunning robin's egg blue. If RJ hadn't told me to leave school and get outside and enjoy it, I might still be in the copy room, taking care of business. Instead I'm on the balcony with my pooches enjoying the reprieve from the clouds of gloom.
Still, my first thought was: what would I even do in the sun? There are no kids to play kickball with or ride bikes. No friends who live close enough to meet for a walk in the park before it gets dark. No buddy to sit in a cafe or at an outdoor table with to enjoy a drink and wind down the week. This is the thing about adult life for me (and maybe other people like me?): it's finally play time and there is no one to share it with.
It feels like, when you look at Facebook or overhear conversations in the lunchroom, that everyone else has friends. A social life. People who have people.
I am not a person who easily finds people. There is this thing about my personality that sets people off when they meet me. It's hard to make friends. It's like resting bitch face, but for my soul.
When I find my people, it's for life. I have a whole village. But sometimes, when my village is scattered to the four corners of the globe, I want to be able to walk into other people's villages and not immediately be considered some kind of threat; or worse, be invisible.
Basically, I could use a local friend, or better, two. That way, if one has plans, I can still have someone to spend time with.
When people exclude me, when they group up in force against me, when they ignore me or don't invite me; it hurts. Because no matter how long the world has been bullying you, it doesn't stop hurting.
In some very literal ways, it is like I never left middle school. I know enough to not care what people think about what I wear, or what I look like, but my personality? And more than that, when they take my differing opinions, my principles, my ideas and discredit them because they are different from the norm. Different from them. Different from the type of society that elects Donald Trump. How am I supposed to feel about that? Excited? Resigned? Accepting?
I blame this feeling on too much television. If I never watched Friends or Seinfeld or Cheers growing up, I might have thought it was okay to sit on my couch by myself and read a book. Heck, that's what the characters in my favorite books always do! Instead, I wonder where the people are who will just randomly walk through the door and have a story, a plan, an adventure, a problem to solve - something challenging but not so taxing it fits outside a 30 minute plot line - and then we'll relax together until the next adventure comes.
But life isn't a sitcom, or Dawson's Creek, or Grey's Anatomy. I will spend many nights alone. I will constantly be dragging my work home with me. I will not randomly be able to carpool with people from work all the time.
Instead, I'll try to focus on having my village all over the world. The ones I can call in multiple time zones, the big adventures every few years and the little mysteries I get to solve everyday (sometimes finding my sunglasses is a 30 minute plot!). What I have is so much.
Time to be grateful.
Love always, Heather