Amidst the March madness our schedule finally settled. It is rare for my family of five to sit at home with nothing to do and so I let my three sons choose their preferred mode of unwinding; online gaming.
Unlike my sons, the overcast outdoors beckoned. The hubs chose to accompany the dog and I and, book in-hand, we headed out for a walk through the equestrian stables adjacent to my neighborhood to the duck pond park.
I get so absorbed with the things that happen between my four walls that I needed to see the world beyond.
As we walked through the neighborhood park I observed the various families with small children and remembered my former afternoons spent here. When my boys were very young I frequented the local parks every afternoon, surrounded by the sounds of people to break up the monotony of my days. During those years my husband was often deployed and, living away from a military community, I often felt isolated.
I knew most of the people who worked at the local supermarket, nearest to my home, who always greeted me by name. Although the produce and items are much more expensive here than a wholesale grocer, I remember why I continue to frequent this store. In the thirteen years that I have resided here, the employees have remained the same. We are like an extended family and to this day, they continue to greet me by name.
In the park we walked past the birthday party that looked Pinterest worthy; the tables set with tea cups and beautiful decor. I enviously wished I was young like the birthday participants; the cares of the world revolving around what color of dress to wear for a party or what the next meal to be served would be.
My sons also had these type of parties and the hubs and I both remembered the motorized jeeps my in-laws brought to our middle son’s third birthday party in this very same park. The eldest, then four, had immediately settled at the wheel and driven his brothers around.
These days the eldest son is behind the wheel of my car, driving his brothers around. The middle son is already chomping at the bit to take the test for his permit. He is not eligible to do this until December of this year.
In the early predawn hours I am always grateful to live in this community; one where I feel safe enough to jog solo on my neighborhood streets in the early morning dark. I trek past my sons’ elementary and high school and use the outdoor resistance equipment of the community park across the way before making my way home to awaken my household to begin a new day.
Normally I take comfort in daily rituals and routines; the cyclical wheels and spokes that drive my life forward. But lately I’ve been feeling stuck.
My rose colored shades have been getting blurry and so I’ve tried to wipe them off; to see clearly. The sun shines too brightly into my eyes. I feel like a hamster running in place. I seek inspiration and motivation without a lot of success.
I walk through my life a bit like one of the walking dead zombies my husband is fond of watching. Talking heads.
My hubs, sons and dear girlfriends know that when I get fixated on a song that it stays on repeat until I finally get it out of my head. The Katy Perry song appears light and frothy but upon listening to the message, is deeper. It resonates with the undertones that currently are stuck in my head.
Usually music is the one medium that can take me out of my funk. I’m losing faith and I’m stumbling along trying to find my way once again.
The text from my girlfriend was most welcome. Occasionally our vehicles pass one another in the library parking lot as we pick-up or drop-off our sons and, surprisingly, my schedule was clear to meet her the very next day. We chatted books, food, family and everything in-between and we talked of retirement; something I am nowhere near. We imagined what our lives will be and I get a bit disheartened, wondering if I’ll ever get there.
The utopia that my baby boomer in-laws’ generation lives will be vastly different when the hubs and I get there.
Our generation is so lost in work, with no play, and we’ve passed this on to our own children. We supervise their play dates, their extra curriculars, their resumes. What will motivate our own kids when their lives are comfortable little bubbles managed by others? The things that normally motivate people: money, things, titles continue to drive people to run faster on their hamster wheels. Things like relationships, familial ties and loyalty are filtered by online screens and cyberspace.
My hippocampal brain space isn’t being used because I rely on my mobile device to memorize and organize my life. I don’t even have my sons’ cell numbers memorized. I put the book down at the duck pond and process the people activity around me, instead. I tell the hubs that I want my own tea party.
On our walk home the hubs asked if there was a reason I was walking so fast. It took me a minute to respond, slowing my stride and noting it is my normal pace. He reminded me to slow it down, as he pointed at trees. He stopped mid-stride and had me glance up to the patriotic military banners that grace this grand avenue and pointed to a fellow booster parent’s image in his army/national guard uniform. I have jogged this route, weekly over several years, and have not once noted his banner above.
I watch my friends live their lives on Facebook and Instagram. I, too, like their posts and pictures…escaping my walls in cyberspace. But it’s time for me to step out of my rhythm and comfortable spaces; to journey untraveled roads in unexpected places.
What’s your status?
I don’t have one.