Many years ago in another lifetime, when my own mom was about my age, she started going out on Friday nights. I remember at the time, wondering why she was going out every single Friday night. Life is funny though, now at 39, I know why she went out every single Friday night. Sometimes you need your own space, a space to be with friends, a space to just lay down the titles we carry and the roles we play and to simply just be. As lovely as our families and homes can be, checking out on a regular basis has real value, a value that I am only just starting to appreciate.
In the past month, a new tradition has formed for me and one that I think I am happy to embrace despite never intentionally planning for this tradition. The seemingly long lost art of just hanging out with friends, sharing a meal, a drink, conversation and laughs sans kids, partners, families or even a plan. In this digital age, we all connect online it seems. Facebook has become our town square but as I am realizing, living and sharing digitally doesn’t hold a candle to the joys of regularly hanging out with friends. Don’t get me wrong it serves a purpose and when we are miles away from family and friends, it beats staring at the walls. However as I have come to accept that living in Maine is my life at this moment, rebuilding deeper connections has become a priority. Over the years I have used my online life as a way to build my community but for all that the online world can offer us, it has great limitations.
A few nights ago, using the digital town square of Facebook, I announced that I was planning on going out for margaritas and nachos on Friday. Initially I thought only one friend would join me but in the end two others came along, one who just knew to show up at the meeting spot and it was awesome. Even better is that I am finding that living without a plan at times is beneficial, as we wrapped up the evening margaritas and nachos with a trip to the brew pub since we just wanted to do more people watching and hanging out. Can I just say that after years of planning everything, living in the moment with no plan is damn fun!
On a deeper level though as a mother and wife, these forays out into the world have been bringing me back in touch with myself…the self who lives beneath the surface that is sometimes too wrapped up in all that I must do. It seems that my fun self has decided to come out and play and can I just say that after all these years, I have missed my old friend. Fun me is sassy, flirty (though can I say, we need better eye candy in this neck of the woods) and relaxed, yeah she’s a little invisible these days since she isn’t that sexy young thang anymore but she still lives.
Its been interesting in the past few weeks as I have started taking this time for myself; while the Spousal Unit is thrilled since to be polite, he is often the beneficiary of fun me. The seven year old has been a little critical, stepping in at times to play the role of disapproving parent though as we have explained to her, just as she likes play dates with her friends, adults like to play and hang out with their friends. Seriously though when I think about what I am modeling for her and trust me we all are modeling to our kids, it’s important for her to see that mom is more than mom and a worker but that mom takes time for herself and there is more to mom’s self-care than yoga.
So all these years later, I get it and I will happily carry on the tradition started by my own mother of taking time to hang out with friends weekly. Next up, a night of dancing, this should be fun and maybe I will even post some pictures.