Saturday, February 09, 2013

The people in my neighborhood

In the realm of tremendous understatements there's one that is me saying, "I don't get out much."

The me of 10 years ago would never have believed this.  I was the busiest person most of my friends knew.  I persistently pushed the limits of what a person could responsibly commit themselves to.  When in doubt, I said yes.  I caused myself a fair amount of unnecessary stress, but I also felt very much alive and brave and could feel my comfort zone stretching all the time.

Then I got married, and it became prudent to "check with my spouse" before committing any of my discretionary time away.  Plus I started working full time with two hours of daily commute.  There wasn't much discretionary time.  I think I still have a PTSD-esque hangover from this time.

Then motherhood - the sucker punch.  I could never reliably commit to anything with the assumption the child/children I'd have to tote along would be cooperative.  I couldn't commit to arriving anywhere right on time, or being able to focus on a task at any time or in any place.  Any kind of focused activity, in order to be guaranteed, required a babysitter.

And I have the most complicated relationship with the issue of babysitters.  I have never had the luxury of super-available family.  Even when I've lived close enough, everybody is busy with jobs and school and other inflexible things.  And we never had the ability to pay a babysitter until we moved here, and maybe it's just me, but teenage babysitters are not what they used to be.  I wish I could find someone just like the 13 year old me.  But so far I have not.

The result is that I have to want something a heckuva whole lot in order to jump through the hoops to be able to go somewhere and do something (circus in-tow or not).  Some days I can find ample bootstrap for such endeavors, but oftentimes I cannot.

I pass on a lot of things I would love love love to do, just because figuring out what to do with the kids would be so much trouble, and finding a sitter is such a rigorous exercise in humility.  Calling a dozen people to beg for their time and energy before somebody says yes is right up there with stabbing myself in the  eyeballs for me.  And so I find myself housebound mostly, and checking the mail becomes the highlight of my day.

But inside I am so under-stimulated that I sometimes think I'm losing my mind.  And I can feel my comfort zone shrinking.  I don't think I'm a genuine introvert, but between my too-tiny voice and my house-bound-ness I sometimes think I'm turning into one.

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