When I was young, I sorely wanted to be chosen for teams, games, parties, and even volunteer activities - I wanted to belong and be noticed. Group association - chime in, psychologists everywhere, back me up! It was a time of anxiety.
Then I became a teenager - whoa, buddy! Teens think that group association is critical to their identity (whether that is rational or not). Nightmares included fears of being excluded. I was a sucker for a musician - or a class clown. Overall, it was a time of acne, big hair and drama.
As a young mother, I wanted to get out and do things with groups, too - with specifications. Kids had to be included. The Reader's Digest version of this is that if your kid and my kid clash...well, we're not going to be getting together much. It was a time of maternal networking and budgeting.
As an older mother, with driving teens, it didn't matter what I wanted to do - if the kids are out running around, I'm by a phone till they get home. And I always reminded my kids that you aren't late, in my mind - you're dead. That is how my mama brain works. If you miss curfew, it can't be due to your knuckleheaded irresponsibility...most certainly, you're trapped under a landslide, encountered a tornado, wrecked your car and you expired whispering the words, "Mama...help..." I was fueled by mama guilt. Not late; injured or dead. Those were the options. It was a time of maternal fear and foreboding.
If you keep plugging away at social activities for 50+ years, you'll hit the place I'm in now, my own Socialpalooza. This is the opposite of childhood social goals of inclusion. I'm invited to everything, everyday. Don't get me wrong - I love my friends! I'm just overscheduled (it's my own fault). I like to be busy, but it seems like a plant a seed of activity and it grows to a choking plant. Now, I pray for a rain check or a snow day; less guilt about non-participation.
In reality, I should be in the sweet spot of socializing, since all those factors have changed with time.
- I don't care if I'm chosen for activities. To be honest, I usually whisper, "Sweet!" when I get passed by.
- I have more interests and things I want to do than there are hours in the day.
- Kid interactions don't matter that much; the only kid left at home is sixteen years old and he pretty well gets along with everyone.
- YouTube is my musical friend and it knows about all the musicians I like - I just have to ask and up pops a video.
- Google will provide all the jokes I need, at the time I need them.
- Even if I have concerns about my kids nowadays, we all have cellphones. Thanks, technology. I prefer that to pharmacology to appease my mom freak-outs.
All I want to do is stay home. Really, that's the ticket for me.
I can't be pleased.
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