I was musing on this topic as I walked the Fanno Creek Path by my home. Once again I was called and told when and where to be for a family event. Once aging there was the spoken… yes, spoken not even implied… statement that I wouldn’t be busy so I would be there… wherever “there” happened to be.
I know I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life single…
I also know that I am not a social butterfly and do not have a packed schedule. I have more in common with a hermit crab than a social animal. But really… I’m tired of the assumption. Why don’t I rate the common courtesy of being asked?
So, being me I started to wonder if I was overreacting. I’ve been known to do that on occasion.
Because I’m not social, and because I don’t want to be involved in the “arranging” of these events does that preclude the question? “We’ve decided to have Father’s Day on Thursday after work – can you be there?” Have I abdicated my role it all this?
I’ve decided it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) work that way. My family’s assumption that I am always free, always available, is annoying as hell and I deserve to be asked not told.
But it isn’t just my family.
There’s 10 years of dating that got me into similar situations. I have a very flexible life. I’m not one of those people with hundreds of ‘friends’ on Facebook. In fact I make a point of keeping my social circle small because I find maintaining close friendships difficult. The friends I keep are the ones that don’t mind being ignored for days, weeks, or even on occasion months. We meet, have drinks or dinner, and catch up. No harm no foul… but I’ve gotten off topic.
In 10 years of dating I’ve found that my lack of commitments translates into “lame”.
Yep, for lack of a better word I have been found lacking because I don’t surround myself with people, events, and activities. Also I have been found “easy” because I’m usually available. But then if I’m dating you I want to spend time with you – at least that is my assumption. But that is often read as too available or needy… it took me years to decide it was their problem not mine.
When you aren’t social – but are very good at playing one when required – people make all sorts of assumptions about you. Who you are, what your life is like, and that the person they see is the person you are all the time. If one more person who looks at me like I’m crazy when I say I don’t go out much I think I’ll scream.
Oh, and one of the most stressful questions I’ve been asked over the last five years is “What do you do for fun?”
I babble – mostly because I don’t want to discuss it and secondly because the people who ask are most often those people with the lives filled with people, events, and activities.
They are really sweet – often the question is asked to find points of contact and to fold you into their life of activities and events.
There are times in my life when I was more like them… old friends have come back into my life and find it bizarre how much my life has slowed down. But it is only an external slowing… what I do, what consumes me, is writing, thinking about the worlds I’m creating, distracting myself when I don’t feel capable of putting words to the page, and reading. My brain is always racing… my schedule is internal and can’t be calendared or mapped.
So, I have things to do… an internal schedule that has nothing to do with external events. There are times when every event, phone call, email, or dinner is a chunk of time away from the work that needs to be accomplished. Even though I don’t have children, a husband, or a sparking social life, I still deserved to be asked.
Odds are I can probably make it… but ask. I’ll be a lot happier when I show up.