Discovering Adult Playdates

Sensational Saturdays

a blog where I write whatever comes up

 

A few years ago I found that my contact with adults was limited to opportunities that had to do with children. I baked cupcakes for the bake sale, drove here and there for everything from the zoo to the jumpy castle birthday party, and hauled cases of juice boxes. My conversations were squeezed into ten minute increments with a child pulling on my arm “It’s time to go Mom!”

And we seemed to only talk about kids. What was going on at the school or at Girl Scouts or soccer. How the volunteering for swim team was enormous and what a relief it was that the child had decided not to do it this year. Short conversations that revolved around something that wouldn’t even be an issue in a few years. Because those kids grow up.

As my children’s world grew bigger, mine shrank. No longer did I get to walk them to school and meet adults outside on the playground. They walked themselves. Now the drama and trauma of the empty nest loomed.

I tried dialing old friends, then ones with whom I’d partied all night in college, spilled my guts to over early morning pancakes. Those people I thought I’d always be friends with. Turns out while I was busy helping my kids learn to get friends and influence people I’d lost all of my own. I was left alone with the cupcakes.

At around the same time I sold used books out of my house. A job that kept me busy and earned around $300 a week with little time except that spent scrounging around dusty thrift stores searching for treasure. An activity I loved having an excuse to do, but was once again solitary. One of the side benefits was the ton of used books on a variety of eclectic subjects. That’s how I read the 80’s classic The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-Sense Investment Guide.

Why anyone would read an old paperback about a bunch of older ladies and their club is beyond me. But I loved it. I went on to Chicks Laying Nest Eggs : How 10 Skirts Beat the Pants Off Wall Street…And How You Can Too! A more modern hip version where the ladies were hot hockey wives and they met online through emails instead of in dusty small town meeting rooms. I was hooked.

I wanted a club. One where I could talk to adults about adult subjects. And the get rich on the side benefit? Well money is always nice. I reasoned that my busy friends who never had the time anymore to get together would make the time if it was an SIE (scheduled important event). And I was not disappointed.

Under the excuse about learning about the stock market I called my friends who never had the time to go out. They came. They made time for the first meeting. We had our own cupcakes and instead of apple juice in boxes we had glowing red and white wine in glass bottles. It was an adult play date.

The Queens of Green are still meeting three years later. I’ve learned a ton of stuff about the stock market, made a little money, (yes, we are actually up-at least as of yesterday) and now I manage my own tiny investments online. But the best part is my secret tell-no-one goal has been achieved. I now have my own friends.

And the looming threat of the empty nest? Well that is a distant memory. Between my investment club, my RWA activities, and oh yeah, writing full time, I have no fears of the empty nest. I’ve prevented what could have been a catastrophe.

Have you ever had to re-make your life? What happens to those friends who you swore you’d always have contact with? What feeds your soul and keeps you from threats like the empty nest?

I want to thank Shutterstock for the free clip art. Yumm, cupcakes..
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8 Comments

Filed under channeling success, Optimisim, Sensational Saturday's

8 responses to “Discovering Adult Playdates

  1. That’s why I had a Margie class….so I’d have grownups to understand the crazy writing life with. 🙂 If it wasn’t for other writers I’d have no adults to hang with at all.

    • CRW is the other main adult diversion in my life. And I agree completely. My husband is great to talk to, but I think the writing stuff goes in one ear and gets totally lost. There is nothing like having writing buddies!

  2. Waving HI to BABS! You, too, Jennifer. Yes, IMC resulted in what I hope will be lifetime friendships. (WOO HOO U!)

    My challenge wasn’t empty nest syndrome, Jessie. It was walking away from Corporate America. I hadn’t realized how much I’d defined myself by my job (and, “oh, and I write, too”). I discovered that when I began to write full-time (snerk), I was LESS productive than I had been when job demands structured my writing time. After this, after that, there’s always tomorrow sucked productivity out of me. Like Babs, it was getting out and CREATING a new network of friends that rescued me from isolation. I cherish the on-line and local friendships I share with fellow writes, my exercise buds, and the baristas at SBUX.

    I no longer get up and wonder what I’m going to do with my day. I wonder how I’m going to get it all done. GREAT POST!

    • Thanks Gloria! And I didn’t write about it, but it seems like when you have a job you make great friends in the workplace. And when you leave the job and are out of the environment, those friendships drop off. (Unless you work very hard). I’m glad you’ve found new friends with your new “job”, even if some of us live so very far away!

  3. I have always said the best thing I did in my life was raise my kids, along with my husband’s help. And I still say that. In the grand picture leaving two awesome, well-adjusted adults who are raising their own wonderful families keeps the human race going.
    That being said, I always knew my duty was first to myself before husband, kids, extended life. When my kids met the next plateau I was ecstatic. Not for me the tears when they went off to university. That was our purpose in the first place.
    Once I left my teaching job, finding writing took the place of moulding students. And it gives me joy to learn new things. Always has. So writing my babies–historicals, memoir, short stories, blog posts, and even creative Christmas letters gives me that gut-level satisfaction of making something else new. And I can keep remaking it, unlike kids. Once you’re done, you’re done with them.
    Jessica, I am so glad you found your new niche and enjoyed your story. It’s just different from mine. Isn’t that great?

    • It is great! I think this is a common problem for many adults changing roles. Look at Gloria’s comment on leaving the workplace. When we take ourselves out of a sphere of any sort we need to not only re-define ourselves in terms of our productivity (what is it we are doing now), but our social selves too. I bet when you left teaching you kept a few friends, but you need friends who are writers. Hence the many new writer friends I know you have developed.

      I’m still working, off and on. I work full time score standardized tests for approximately five months out of the year. Keeps me in the rat race, just in case!)

  4. I’ve had a few new rebuilds, and kids growing was one of them. Nice thing is, I can still love them and be proud of them when they live under another roof, and they still come home from time to time. You know they love you when the call for a recipe. ‘Mom, how do you make that awesome spinach dip?’
    Love the ‘alone with your cupcakes’ line, Jess. As long as you don’t eat them all yourself!

    • mmmm, very tempting to eat all the cupcakes. Life is full of those moments where you make choices. Do I sit at home alone, or do I do something about it? Sometimes its as easy as saying “yes” to an invitation. Sometimes you have to work very hard to find your spot. One of the lovely things about writers groups is how easy it is for me to make friends. I think this has little to do with me and more to do with the commonality of relief we all feel when we walk into the group and realize, these people are just like me!
      I’m not sure my kids will ever actually move out. The economy being what it is and for so long, it may be that the dynamic of reaching eighteen and moving on has changed forever, but I am looking forward to them being adults. I think!

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