Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And a little crabby too

Last night, I was invited out for a drink with some very close friends. We usually just hang out at somebody's house, but last night, we went out (in anticipation of another friend's birthday, actually). Anyway, I just ordered a coke, and the whole time I was there, I wanted to leave. In fact, Dereck was halfway through his Bloody Mary when I announced that we had to leave after that drink because I had things to do at home.

What I had to do was put Sam to bed and write a post about last night's episode of House. Not very pressing, either of them. Sam was okay either way, and the post could have waited for morning. I don't know why, but I very urgently felt that I needed to be at home, and then to stay at home. So, when the birthday friend arrived at the DuKum and I received multiple text messages, I begged off.

Nothing significant to report as a result of that. Sam kept texting me from his bed because he couldn't sleep. He had taken a nap after school, so today, I am trying to keep him from collapsing from the tired. Tommy was then up with his cold. Christian was then up trying to get ear plugs into his ears because Tommy has been snoring.

The kids were bouncing up and down like jacks in the box. I finally just gave up myself and headed to my bed. Where I heard Sam creaking as he turned in bed, where I sighed and tried various sleep positions, where the phone rang at 1:43, and I had to get up at 2:15 finally to settle loud bickering from the younger set's room. Christian was keeping Tommy awake to prevent the snoring, and Tommy was weeping with exhaustion. I settled Christian into the TV room futon and stumbled back to bed. By this time, Dereck was awake and feeling frisky, but I kissed him and soundly fell asleep, so he got up and started taking quizzes on Facebook.

I was amazed this morning when the kids got up and got themselves ready for school according to schedule. I thought for sure they'd all sleep in and then wake in a panic. I would have kept Tommy home with his cold except they are doing state testing this week and I get text messages several times a day stressing the importance of attendance. And actually, Tommy was the only kid in a half-way decent mood this morning.

So, we are all tired. I would have slept in later today, but my guilt at the fact that my family had to push through the tired kept me from doing so. As a result, I don't feel like going to karaoke tonight or doing much else, either. Did I mention that we are all tired?

I think this is why I don't blog more often. I find my life boring to write about. And, yes, a little boring to live. We had a very nice weekend with friends with St. Louis. We got snowed in with a delightful baby boy, and there was lots of knitting and crocheting and lots of episodes of House. It was very pleasant, but that doesn't sound very interesting to read about, does it?

Right now, at this period of my life, which is recurrent by the way, I am so bored and depressed with living in this town. I will be 40 in April. Turning 30 didn't bother me: I had three kids, owned a house, was starting grad school.

Turning 40 only bothers me because I no longer feel like I have my life stretched out ahead of me. When you're in your twenties, your life is stretched out, but you don't see all of the possibilities. You see the blank sheet of paper that you're terrified to write on. You edit yourself, you hold back, or you don't see all of the possibilities-- you only see the blank sheet.

Now that the past twenty years of my life has already been written, I can look back and see so much room for editing. That point where I got married right after college graduation? That could have been filled with grad school, travel to Europe, and/or Peace Corps. I could have followed my dreams of being a writer and moved to New York City to pursue it. And then maybe I wouldn't feel so much contempt for the other people I see driving their kids to school. I sometimes feel like this town, these people, well, none of us really matter. Our lives don't matter. We are just a small blot on the planet. People in NYC or Chicago or LA are somehow living lives more vividly, in living color. And as a result, I find I don't take particular care for my appearance here-- because I just don't care.

So, my biggest problem with turning 40 is that I am still living here, have lived here for FIFTEEN YEARS. That seems huge to me. How many years have I lost? How many dreams are dead now? How many can I revive? I can see the light at the end of the tunnel: Tommy will graduate from high school seven years from now. I will be 47. What will I have time for? If I get the PhD, will I be able to get a job? Will I be able to move? If I move, will I discover that I don't matter any more than I do here, that the people there don't matter, that it doesn't make any difference?

I have always hated the adage to bloom where you're planted. That is just stupid to me: Instead, go plant yourself somewhere else! Why would I want to settle for this????

Then, I think in terms of practicalities: It takes me 5 minutes to get everywhere. We can afford to live here (sometimes! Ha ha ha!). The kids are safe. We have great friends here, and the people here ARE great, my disdain notwithstanding. How will we meet people if we move? We will move anonymously through bigger supermarkets and have more anonymous Starbucks to go to, but we will lose connections to place and people that we have here.

I don't know what the answers are. I don't know what about my life I will regret. One friend tells me that I have books in me to write. I had better start writing them. Part of my problem isn't just the fatigue that I have written about over and over. Everyone is tired. EVERYONE is tired. That's what happens when you reach a certain age. My problem is my refusal to start new projects unless I feel as perfectly refreshed as the princess without her pea. Now that I work at home, I don't push through the tired. I go to bed. So, I need to start doing more when I'm tired. I need to make my bucket list (oh, please forgive me).

Did I mention that I'm a little tired today?

But I'm not going to take a nap. I am going to print out a knitting pattern and start knitting it, and I am going to start thinking about what I'd like the rest of my life to look like.


  1. You should check out Storybox. They are great for kids aged 3-6 and have a great SamSam activity area for kids!

  2. "When you're in your twenties, your life is stretched out, but you don't see all of the possibilities. You see the blank sheet of paper that you're terrified to write on. You edit yourself, you hold back, or you don't see all of the possibilities-- you only see the blank sheet."

    You do have books in you, Jen. It doesn't matter if you write them tonight, tomorrow, or in twenty more years; when you do, they will be read. Everywhere. By people in their twenties and by people in their forties; by people living more vivid lives than you or I, and by people just like you or I.

    Carpe Diem by the balls, I say!

    I know, i'll try to follow my own advice too.

  3. You do matter! You definitely have books in you. Or other projects as well. Of course you're tired, you've been moving in blurry hyper speed for years. I love you and am thinking about you everyday. Hope this week is better. XOXOX

  4. I have not so much of the tired (although there is that) but more of the po'd at myself that I have WASTED so effing much time. I've been here FOREVER. And I passed 40 years ago. So I think you and I are definitely very much thinking about some of the same things. But you are still ahead of me. So there's that.