The Fashionista and I have an ongoing conversation topic together, which she has dubbed ‘I hope I remember.’ The title comes from her half-joking desire to write a self-help book for her own future. In it she will record all the things which she has observed about her married siblings and friends, which she hopes not to do when she also is married and/or having children. Then, when she reaches that stage in her life, she will be able to reread the book and recall the lessons she learned from observation.
For example, she pointed out to me once that a few of her married friends complain because they have no time to themselves. Instead, they have children to look after and houses to keep up (most of them are stay-at-home moms), so almost all their day is committed to household chores of various kinds. We were talking about this complaint, and she observed that it certainly is true that married women are very busy, but if they are homemakers, they also have the opportunity, if they want, to whip up a cassoulet for dinner (I use cassoulet as an illustration because I thought about making it once and discovered that the whole process would take two days!).
Working/single women, like the Fashionista and I, on the other hand, do have time to ourselves since we don’t have any particular obligations from children or spouses during the hours off from work. However, due to the fact that we have no choice but to work, we don’t get to pursue certain personal interests – like cassoulet-making – because the time we have is limited. So we have the benefit of having no claims put on us in our hours off, whereas married women and mothers always have a claim laid on them but usually have the support of a second adult to allow them more leisure for hobbies, etc.
The lesson my friend wants to remember when she is in her friends’ position, then, is that everything is a matter of perspective.
I’ve recently stumbled across another matter which I want to add to the ‘I hope I remember’ list. My younger brother has been home since he is waiting for the spring construction season to start up. He and I naturally have been spending a lot of time together, and I have realized in relation to this that I have been turning into my parents.
You see, when I was around ten, my dad retired from the Navy and he took a job as a high school math teacher. Prior to this our family had often had exciting Sunday outings, since that was Dad’s reliable day off. We visited museums and zoos, spent time with family friends, went to sport events or at least all spent time at home as a family. Once we moved and the new job, started, though, suddenly things changed.
The area where we live in North Idaho is very beautiful, but not very cultural, so we no longer had good options for Sunday outings. Moreover, Dad has always been a perfectionist, so he would devote long hours to class preps and grading, since most of a teacher’s work has to be done outside the classroom. On Friday evenings, he’d be too tired from the week to work on his school matters; on Saturday he had to get household chores done; so the result was that all the preparations were left for Sunday. It became the family homework day. After church we’d all retire to our various corners of the house and work in silence for hours. It was very boring.
The sad thing, though, is that I’ve gotten in the habit of doing very little on Sundays, too!
Again this is partly because there isn’t a lot to do in this area (there’s about one museum of any interest). However, even with this excuse, there are theaters and concerts, not to mention the possibility of spending time with friends. I don’t have to do very little besides read, write a blog post and watch a movie on any given Sunday. If left to myself, I wouldn’t mind such a day, but since my brother has been relying on me to provide a little entertainment, I’ve realized that I’ve become a bit of a recluse.
Since children often don’t quite understand their parents’ motivations, I remember feeling quite resentful in my middle and high school years, because all the fun activities I remembered from Sundays had evaporated. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t ever fall into the same pattern of quiet, work-oriented Sundays. However, lately I’ve slipped into the same pattern. Supposing that I marry and have children, they’d find themselves in the same shoes I used to wear, perhaps resenting me just as much.
I’ve always been a believer in establishing habits now rather than later.
I find that if you rely on some external circumstance to become ideal so that you can change yourself or develop a good habit, realistically that change/habit will never come to be. The time to make good habits is when you are thinking of them and actually have the motivation to pursue them. With that in mind, then, I’ve decided that I need to bestir myself more on Sundays. I’m somewhat of an introvert by nature, so I don’t particularly relish the thought of going out, but at the same time, I enjoy myself once I’m there. Moreover, I often have experiences which lead to good fodder for my writing.
Tonight my social event is a conference at my church, so that is a good start. Next week I’ll be attending a community dinner and fundraiser; the week after that Vasnefy is singing in a concert to which she gave me a free ticket. After that we’ll see what happens, but in any case, I think it’s time to stop complaining about being bored on Sundays and actually solve my own problem! Hopefully that effort will mean that I’ll remember the lesson I learned once I have children of my own.