Tribeless

 

Tribes. They are everywhere, but my God, socializing as an adult is so awful sometimes and trying to permeate a tribe is like running through a brick wall.

I get it. None of us want to commit to each other. We have been hurt in the past – or have done the hurting – and we don’t have time for investing in people we don’t immediately see a reflection of ourselves in. We also see ourselves as shitty friends anyway – like, who wants to suddenly be friends with someone who has maybe one day a month to hang out?

I feel a little ragey and a little bit of sadness whenever I see the “tribe” quotes on social media. I am sure you have seen them, but if you haven’t let me show you what you’re missing:

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So, let me break it down for everyone. Apparently without a group of other like-minded people, we are weak, outcasts and basically too odd to fit.

I have no “tribe.”

Continue reading “Tribeless”

Guest Post #1 – By “M.”

This is the first Guest Post here on Waking Up Thirty. 

We all go through different trials and tribulations in life – how we battle them is much more defining than the actual outcome in a lot of instances. 

Cheers to “M.” for being brave and sharing their story.


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By “M.”

In January, I wrote a list of goals for 2016. I am not a fan of resolutions but I do believe if you write things down there is a better chance of them being crossed off and accomplished. The list included items like drink more water, plan trips not purchases, breathe, compete with myself not others, Do Mud Hero, Not Since Moses run and 10km at Maritime Race weekend, Love myself, be in bed by 10pm, Go to church more regularly, more day trips as a family, more get togethers with friends, Seek Joy and At the top of the list, Get Pregnant and have another baby.

Well it is more than half way through the year and I am still not pregnant and we started trying about 6 months before I wrote that list. I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened yet. With my first, it happened quickly. There are reasons I’m sure. Physical reasons, emotional reasons, timing, purpose etc…  Trying not to focus on it is an exercise in futility. Instead I try to listen to all the subtle truths being revealed. Truthfully it amazes me how we multi-task in this life. We carry on in our day to day (jobs, doctors appointments, friendships, family obligations) while just under the surface or behind closed doors we balance the emotions and struggle we experience in the waiting, in the living, in the knowing of not knowing, in the realization that we can only control so much. This is true of so many of life’s experiences not just trying to conceive. I’ve seen it in my friends and colleagues who care for their ailing parents or battle illnesses all while showing up for work , taking care of their kids and all with such strength and grace. It’s Amazing.

As a planner, someone who makes lists and crosses items off and someone who isn’t particularly fond of change, when you are ready to embrace a new life altering change and it just doesn’t happen it’s unsettling. I remember a quote from Ruth Houtby at the pulpit “Losing Control is losing the illusion that we were ever in control to begin with” This quote has had so much meaning in so many situations for me and yet I keep hearing it and learning it in different contexts. It feels particularly relevant right now.

I read this article the other day about how to support a friend through infertility. It made me realize three things. 1. We are not alone in this experience 2. I have some amazing friends. 3. The last paragraph… “At the end of the day, whether you are able to have the family you desire or not you will be made a better person by the experience.” Katie Hintz-Zambrano writes “While that is not an easy thing to tell a friend (or hear), it’s a reality of the experience. You will be a better parent, friend, sister, wife, person in general.” I would extend this to husbands and fathers as well.

I truly feel this. Even though it is hard and a struggle not knowing when and/or if it will happen for us again, it is shaping me and our family, growing us and challenging us to be more appreciative of the family we do have and more willing to explore new experiences and take more chances. We are living life more fully, more presently.

Have you ever written an “I am” list? You know the ones where you write “I am…” at the top of the page and then fill the page with positive affirmations about yourself? It’s big in the self-help world. Anyway I have. I am kind, I am generous, I am a loyal, I am happy yadda yadda… I get about two lines in and start trying to think about how I can re-frame negative self talk to be positive. (Side note: why do we carry such negative self-beliefs) But one truth I know is that I am a good friend. I care deeply about my friends and I prioritize maintaining friendships. It brings me joy to sit with friends and connect, no matter what the topic or context.  It is equally joyful and challenging to connect with friends who are experiencing something in their lives you wish to be experiencing in your own. When you are trying to get pregnant you become that much more aware of all the pregnant people around you. I have experienced so many emotions as my friends experience pregnancy and the birth of their children, some for the first time and others the second time around: excitement, joy, jealousy, resentment, gratitude, sadness, guilt, longing.  I have also become a more sensitive friend. I am that much more aware of the questions I ask or  how I talk about my own child with others. It is so easy to complain about sleepless nights, how whiny your child is or the general struggles of parenting. I no longer take these things for granted.

In the midst of a particularly rough weekend which corresponded with sleep deprivation, PMS and the cycle that is the roller-coaster of emotions one experiences when trying to get pregnant (sorry if TMI) our family sought refuge at my mom’s. After I left she wrote to me. She said “You need to be more kind to yourself and trust your instincts. You are a good person. Sometimes I think you need to reverse the golden rule and do unto/for yourself as you would do unto/for others. Love you”

It meant the world to me to read those words from her. I felt as though she looked at me and really saw me. She saw me where I am currently and said exactly the words I needed to hear.

I know I am so lucky to have had a successful pregnancy the first time around and to have a loving husband and awesome little boy. Throughout and as a result of this experience I have also had the opportunity to cross off some of the other items on my list such as competing with myself and not others, running a few races, planning trips not purchases, taking time to breathe, practicing self-care and mindfully seeking Joy.  What Katie Hintz-Zambrano writes is true. I am a better wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister and person for having this experience. I am learning and growing. I am present enough to recognize that there are so many known and unknowns becoming manifest and in the midst of it all, I have hope.

  • “M.”

 

Thank you so much for the entry, “M.” 

I think we can all agree that life doesn’t always give us what we want, but it has a way of giving us what we need. 

Here’s to the strong ones who push through!

 

Love Yourself,

Allison

See You on the Other Side

Do you remember us?

We used to be fun, spontaneous and down right self-absorbed. It was magnificent.

Back when we had our childless weekends together, when my oldest daughter would stay at her Dad’s, when we would stay up all night with friends, spend the day in our jammies and make grueling decisions like, “do we go to the grocery store for snacks, or do we just hit the drive-through?” Since one of those options included putting on bottoms other than pajama pants, we would usually go for the latter. 

We had no one to tell us how to live and we did what we wanted. Even our bodies were happily put through the abuse they endured – sleepless nights, too much alcohol, long trips on the four-wheeler, sunburns and bed aches.

 

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Fast Forward to present-day and the table has been flipped upside down.

We no longer get to choose how long we sleep, or when it happens – thanks to a toddler who still does not sleep through the night. Our activity options are also limited. Most of our plans have to include our kids, otherwise they just aren’t going to work for us.

Really, having a childfree night would be nice, but the thought of putting ourselves through an all-nighter on purpose sounds like mere fucking torture. Sleep is so important to us now, but instead of sleeping all day, we try to make sure we get the right kind of sleep at the right time – you know, like at night.

This stage of our lives can be lonely and is really hard.

We are raising babies and teenagers, yet trying to work enough to ensure our future.

It is a grindstone – and even when the weekend comes along, there isn’t enough time in two days to make up for the time missed during the week.

As for friends – OUR FRIENDS –

Since there is barely enough time for my husband and I to be with each other, and also take care of ourselves and our children, and managing our property or what-have-its – my DEAR FRIENDS…

…there is barely enough time for you.

When I do make time specifically for an evening out with friends or an event, it is calculated to the max.

Do I need a sitter? Do I need someone to watch the dog? Am I going to need to take a cab home? If I need a cab, how will we manage to get my car in the morning? If the toddler goes to a sitter, how many snacks do I pack? Do I actually have to wear real clothes or will my yoga pants suffice?

Long gone are the days of trying to decide between the grocery store and drive-throughs. Our priorities are in a vastly different order than they once were and are balanced very delicately.

It only takes one raucous and sleep deprived night to ruin an entire week in this house.

I totally understand that it can be frustrating to not see someone you once had friend-affair with. We were together a lot – almost inseparable at times.

But, do you really want to see us now? Do you want to chill with tired, worn out us?

We promise that we love you. If we didn’t love you, we wouldn’t have so much respect for you to realize that we don’t see you quite enough. We honestly wish we had more time for you all – and we are sorry that this has happened.

But, here is the bright side:

Somehow this will all get easier.

We will figure out how to balance our lives a little better.

Our children won’t be quite so schedule dependent and maybe we will get to sleep easier and with that our days will come easier too.

We will never forget our fun ass times we had together. We won’t forget the memories we made and the histories we have developed with our Dearest Friends.

So when that time comes –

Don’t forget us.

We will see you on the other side.

 

Love Yourself,

Allison