Friday, July 19, 2013

Salon Date

Going to the salon is about more than just getting your nails and hair done. It's paying for an hour to spend with a stranger who asks you about YOU. They know you, and your life story, if you go often enough. And sometimes, you feel like they really care. 

And so, on Tuesday, after getting the news that my regular stylist had quit, I found myself in the black leather spinning chair in front of a stranger. Cape tied around my neck, hair parted in the middle and dripping wet, I stared at my blind date--the one wielding the scissors--and tried to read her. She was young, a few years younger than me, a long, thick braid down her back. We started with banal, meaningless conversation, but quickly diverted into serious life-talk. We have similar life situations. I've been with K for 4 years now, she's been with her boyfriend for 3. Both of us want to get married. Both of us want kids, (she has a 14 month old, but advised me to wait until we were really, REALLY ready. Which I took very seriously, since the girl clearly knows what she's talking about.) I opened up about my third-life crisis, and found myself pouring my heart out to the stranger cutting my hair. It felt like a real connection. And when I left, I found myself as excited to make this new friend as I would have been in my dating days to meet a new boyfriend. We were kindred spirits, she and I.

On Thursday, I got my nails done (I'm not usually this diligent about my salon visits, but we're heading to a wedding next weekend). And though I had met this girl before, my visit felt different. Again, we started with nonsense conversation, and gradually diverged into life stories, her painful divorce, dealing with being far from parents, and having to call your partner "boyfriend" at 44 and 29, respectively, though it feels like an inadequate term. We sat talking long after my session ended (I was her last client of the day). When I finally got up to leave, I felt such a high from an honest human connection that I could have cried. 

There is just something to be said about being able to sit across from someone and talk about your life in an open, honest way. It makes you feel like everything in your life is meant to be, and that you're not alone, no matter what it is you're going through. I guess I've just been in dire need to spill my heart out to someone, and though I was paying these two ladies for services, I came away feeling like I had attended a therapy session. 

Going to the salon is about more than beauty treatments. It's about human connection. And sometimes, when you're feeling sad or lonely, just having someone pay attention to you can mean the world. It's all starting to piece back together for me, bit by bit. I can feel myself coming back to life. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beer pong to baby bottles

On Saturday, I stood in the middle of the backyard, watching my friends chase tiny humans around the swingset, down the slide. Five years ago, this same group of people and I played rowdy games of beer pong, discussed drama, and drank until we couldn't stand up. 

Now, at my favorite little 4-year-old cousin's birthday party, I smiled as I realized how surreal it was to instead see all of these former keg stand champions with tiny versions of themselves, holding baby bottles instead of beer bottles. 

As painful as it is sometimes for me to be around babies, I can't seem to get enough lately. Five years ago, I would have rather been playing flip cup. Saturday, I delighted in feeding my new little buddy baby Cheetos (that tasted alarmingly like grown-up Cheetos) and marveling over his tiny polo shirt. 

Standing around the buffet, I gracefully dodged inquiries as to why I did not as of yet have a ring on my left finger, with abstract jokes and forced laughter. It's getting harder to joke about. 

I responsibly drank Coke instead of beer, so I could drive, and helped put tiny water guns into gift bags for the kids to take home. 

And as I knelt on the floor of my cousin's bedroom and helped my favorite little 4-year-old into her purple princess bathing suit, I smiled and mulled over how crazy life can be. How you slowly but surely find yourself growing up and getting used to the idea of marriage and babies. One day you're sloshing beer around a frat party, and the next, you're watching your friends chase tiny versions of themselves around. How funny, beautiful, sometimes painful, and seemingly natural this evolution of life can be.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The 30 Panic

To elaborate a little more on yesterday's post, I didn't expect 30 to hit me quite as hard as it has. And it was a sudden panic, not a slow transition. 

I can't remember exactly what it was that set me off, but I think just being at that age where I'm surrounded by marriage and babies has pushed me into it. I mean, there was one day a few weeks ago where THREE different people on my newsfeed got married.

Another really tough part of this panic is the pressure I feel like I'm putting on K. With my brother and sister both getting married within one year, we've gotten many friendly jabs from friends and family about being "next". Which I can totally handle, in small doses. But the cumulative total of jabs started to wear on me after awhile. Because, doesn't everyone understand--I want these things, too! We both do. But we both have to be READY and do it on our own time. Key word: BOTH. Two lives here, not just one.

The crazy thing about this 30-panic is that I'm SO genuinely happy for my friends who are getting married and having babies. I really am. Like, drop-to-my-knees-sobbing, happy. My friends are my favorite people in the whole world, and I'm SO happy they're getting what they've always wanted. 

I felt a lot of guilt for a long time, thinking this made me a bad person. How can you be happy for someone and sad for yourself at the same time? It took me a few months to be able to separate that this sadness doesn't mean I DON'T want them to have these things, I just want them too. 

And truth be told, I'm not even sure I'm READY for any of it. I just know that I want it, and I think I'm readier the closer I get to 30. 

I have good days and bad days, and I'm trying to just embrace the good and recognize that the bad days are just a good opportunity to reflect on my life. 

And what I really wish I could say out loud in an actual spoken conversation K, what I want to tell him is that even though marriage and babies definitely INVOLVE him, I'm not blaming him for this sadness. This is a personal challenge that I need to face myself. And come to terms with the fact that I'm happy with my life as-is, I'm just in a bit of a quarter-life crisis. Or third-life. Sweet jeebus. There's that panic again.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dark Grey

God, I needed this today. This post ( from Glennon over at Momastery brought tears to my eyes this morning. For the umpteenth time this week. Because I am dark-grey, lately, too. 

I haven't been blogging. Not because I've been lazy. Or uninspired. Because I've been feeling dark grey for the past few months. Like, cry-in-the-car-on-the-way-home-every-day, dark grey. 

And I just haven't been able to put my finger on why. 

Maybe it's because I find myself breathing into a paper bag over turning 30 in six months. I'm watching my friends get married, have babies, make career changes, buy houses... and I am doing none of that. 

I'm the oldest of 3, and the last to get married. And I'm not even sure if I'm READY for marriage. But I want it. And I feel like I should live up to some invisible standard of being married by 30. Which is clearly not going to happen.

And I'm definitely not ready for kids. I am too damn selfish, and I like my alone time, and date night, and beer too much right now. But every now and again, I pick up one of my friends' babies, and something inside of me breaks a little. In that biological-I should be a mother, kind of way. 

And I feel myself moving around in this fog every day, going through the motions of my life. And most days I can make it through. But I find myself crying a lot of the time, and I felt really alone until I read Glennon's post and realized I'm not. 

I'm not sure how to fix what's happening inside my head and heart right now, but I'm trying like hell. And I'm just going to show up, and get through each day the best way I can. I have so much to be grateful for, I just need to be reminded of that sometimes.