Besides having a bit of a cold, my mood has been less than stellar. Since both the cold and the mood seem to be getting better at this point, I think I can finally put the latter into some words to try and sort myself out.
While I can probably blame the weather–snow, cold, biting wind–or the old seasonal depression bit with it’s early darkness, cabin fever and vitamin deficiency, the theme of my daily life to which I keep returning seems to be that of isolation. The holidays are a very lonely time for me, personally. This year, I worked Christmas Eve, James did a shift on Christmas day, and pretty much the whole week was no different than any other. Then, James worked late on New Year’s Eve night, came home, slept, and returned to the store in the morning. We did have a nice duck dinner on Christmas eve, and we had a great Christmas morning with the kid and his super-mega-enthusiasm for his new easel. But the new year and all the rest of everyone else’s vacation just kind of blew by us in a blur of working, house- and kid-managing.
On Friday, we went to dinner with some of my husband’s friends, two couples, one of whom is expecting their first baby this summer. The other couple has an adorable five-month-old. You’d think, with the parenthood and impending parenthood in the group, I would have endless contributions to make to conversation, being as enthusiastic about babies as I happen to be. But I was in a funk. Dinner was nice, the conversation wasn’t awkward or anything, things were just off. And I’m still not even sure why.
Before James made these plans, he had been excited about not having to work on a Friday night. His plan A had been to go to a bar or hang out with his single guy friend(s). When I seemed less than enthused by that prospect, it was his idea to call the others and set up the more family-friendly dinner date. And honestly, it’s not that I don’t want my husband to go out and have a good time with his buddies. The reason I got a little down when he mentioned going to do something without me or the kid, which he hasn’t had the chance to do in a month or two, was because I kind of resented the fact that the last time the mommy got to go out without the husband or baby was probably closer to a year ago.
His argument, of course, is that I do have a couple of social outlets that happen during working hours and include the little ones. And this is completely true. But the rest of the story is that even these occasional outings don’t seem to completely fill the hole of what’s missing for me here. They are to few. And the people involved keep changing. I haven’t found a group of people with whom I fit. The only people I talk to on a day I don’t work are my kid, my mother-in-law, and my husband. I don’t have anything that I do that’s just for me anymore. I have my blog, the Internet stuff I do while M naps, but I’m still “on duty,” even though those couple hours are technically mine to do with what I will, including dishes, laundry, paying bills, etc., especially because the nap is an ever-changing and never predictable block of time.
To sum up, I feel lonely. And though this isn’t anything new, it becomes somewhat magnified by the gray and inward-facing landscape of winter. The problem is that I’m not sure what to do about it. I don’t have money or time to take any sort of class, whether just me or with M, and I’ve all but given up planning anything social myself because somehow it always manages to fall flat through no fault of my own except for the fact that I was the one doing the planning.
All this has me nostalgic for the days when there was no such thing as planning in advance. I don’t remember personal interaction being this difficult. I’m out of my element. It’s the same old complaint. The friends I know are far away. The ones that are close in location are not as emotionally close because they’ve got their own things going, which don’t always overlap with my things. I’m not in school. The people I work with are significantly younger than I am, and besides that, even if I did want to get together with co-workers, it’s a rare occasion where one or more of us is not actually at work. Sigh.
At least we’ve got another vacation coming up. Christmas in Wisconsin in January in eleven days. I’ll get to enjoy my family’s company, perhaps even take a night or afternoon out for myself once or twice. Maybe even a date or dinner with my husband and some old friends. I’m looking forward to the break.