Friday, July 27, 2012

Life, don't talk to me about life

Last night I took G to see Hot Chelle Rae. It was her first real concert and she loved it - she turned to me afterward and said "I'm hoarse from all that screaming and singing," and I said "That's the sign of a good show." I actually kind of like HCR even though I'm clearly at least 15 years older than the target demographic (doesn't hurt that the lead singer is hot), and I knew a few of their songs well enough to sing along, so it was fun for me too. Cold, though - one day I'll learn that even in July, it's chilly outdoors at 10 pm.

On a slightly related note, I've been thinking lately about what people mean when they talk about "having a life." To me, there are all sorts of different lives, all equally valid. If you spend your time going to your kids' soccer games and ballet lessons, that's a life. If you're a musician in a band and you tour 10 months out of every year, that's a life. If you dress up as a cartoon pony and go to conventions, that's a life. If you wander through museums alone and sit under a tree in the park to eat your lunch, that's a life. If you attend snooty parties and disparage the wine, that's a life. Whether you're married or single, have kids or no kids, cook fries at McDonalds or teach law at Harvard, that is your life, and no one but you should get to decide whether it "qualifies" as one according to any external standard.

As you may have guessed, this is on my mind because I get a fair amount of judgment concern from people who think I don't have a life. This baffles me because as far as I'm concerned, I do have one. I work and look after our home and pets. I take G to school and activities. I go to movies and plays and concerts. I shop, read, listen to music. When I can afford to, I travel. It sounds like a life to me, but maybe people don't recognize it as a "real" one because most of it only includes me and G, or because I don't fit the typical suburban social mold, or because I don't do things like camping and barbecuing that other people love (nothing wrong with those things, they're just not for me). And it's not that I need anyone's approval to like what I like and do as I please, but it would be  nice not to get the thinly veiled pity from people who think my life is defective or nonexistent because it isn't enough like theirs. Or almost as annoying, the overly hearty approval when I do happen to do something they deem valuable. "Oh you did X? Good for you! I'm so glad you got out." Uh...I wasn't paroled from federal prison, I just met some friends for breakfast, but thanks.

Anyway, it's Friday night, so I suppose I should go and do something people with no life do, like watch Star Trek and knit sweaters for my cats*...except even Star Trek-watching, sweater-knitting cat ladies have lives**, goddammit!

*Actually I'm going to watch The Bourne Supremacy and maybe bake some cookies.
**I bet there's a Star Trek Cat Sweater meetup group out there somewhere.


M. A. R. said...

Refreshing to read. I totally agree. I spent a few years wishing for "a life" only to realize over time that this IS my life and I like it just the way it is. I went through sort of a depression about it back when my kiddo was a baby after I went to the movies with a long time friend of mine, also a mom but a "party mom" and as we sat in the theater, I was having such a good time, and thinking how nice it was to spend time with my friend seeing a movie I was really looking forward to, when she burst my bubble by saying...."Look at us, losers, at a movie on a Friday afternoon." or something like that. I was so sad and I realized that to her, what we were doing was not worthy, that only going out to a bar or club or a concert was a real life and she wasn't really having fun at all. Whatever!

~zandra~ said...

I don't understand how anyone could think you don't have a life. You're always doing things! Neat things too. Your judgers need to readjust their thinking.