I am not old. I mean, come on, I'm not even 30 yet. And if 30 is the new 20 (who decides these things anyway?), then I'm practically still in college. Most of the time, I have a hard time viewing myself as a "real" grownup, in spite of the husband, 2 kids, and a mortgage. Often, in circles of "real" adults, I feel ridiculously young and out of touch with the "adult" world. I'm not old, darn it!
This is why my feelings were recently hurt when my sister Kristin was visiting. She was telling a story about something involving locating someone on Facebook, and she stopped in the middle of the story, looked at me, and said, "Wait, do you know what Facebook is?"
Yes, I know what Facebook is. I don't live in the Dark Ages. I'm young. I'm cool. I blog. I check my email a hundred times a day. I may be woefully out of touch with items of national and political interest, but I know what Facebook is. That qualifies me as young, right?
The real reason I got so upset about this, of course, was because I've been feeling rather older these days. Now that I have to plan my trips to the grocery store around 2 kids' nap schedules, life is certainly less spontaneous. Last week, Cathy and I actually had an "outing" to the grocery story. We wanted to do a playdate, but I had no food in the house, so we went to Kroger instead, figuring that between the two of us, we could control the three children. The point being, everything in this paragraph thus far just screams of "grownup."
Upon closer examination of my recent general discontent, I was reminded of a very basic fact about myself: I love people. I love to talk, to organize, to be the center of a group. I love to listen, to hear other people's stories. Being around people energizes me.
But as a stay at home mom, I rarely feel energized. In fact, most of the time, I feel tired and frustrated. My typical excuse is to blame this on interrupted sleep, nighttime feedings, and the cranky toddler mentioned in my last post. But upon closer examination, the truth seems obvious: I am worn down because I'm not recharging myself. Being with people refills my batteries, so to speak, and the more I go without doing this, the more worn down I become.
The solution? Ironically enough, also the source of my original crisis. I decided to join Facebook.
I have quickly developed a serious addiction to this site. I love it. Within a matter of days, I have managed to reconnect with old friends, classmates, co-workers, campers, and students. I'm getting messages from people I haven't heard about since high school. Various friend requests, forums, and groups have allowed me to relive the glory days of summer at Camp Tecumseh. Former students are crawling out of the woodwork to hear how "Ms P" is doing these days. Every time I check my email, I have dozens of messages from Facebook, showing me messages that people have sent and letting me know what new people have located me and requested me as a friend. It's absolutely wonderful.
Ben thinks I have gone over the edge. He keeps worrying aloud that I will become one of those women who leaves her husband for someone she meets online (I say there is no danger of this happening). He sees me sitting at the computer and asks, "What are you doing?" in an overly casual voice that translates to "I can't believe you're checking your Facebook account AGAIN!" But I'm still loving it. Suddenly, in the privacy of my own home, undeterred by screaming babies, I am surrounded by people. I can reconnect with old friends with a few strokes of the keyboard. I can "talk" to dozens, even hundreds, of people every day if I feel like it. And I can do it all on my own timeline. Ahh, human interaction. Even filtered by a computer screen, it makes me feel more connected and invigorated than I have in a good long while.
However, it has not solved the problem of feeling old. Several former students have left me messages along the lines of "Ms. P! I can't believe you're on Facebook!" Although I remind myself that my first class of seniors is now only the same age that I was when I had them in class, even they are starting to seem old to me. This week I have learned about former students and campers attending grad school, law school, and medical school. Many are married; some both married and divorced. It seems that they grew up too.
Anyway, old or not, it seems that I have developed a new addiction. It may just be virtual conncections, but if it makes me less bitter about being woken up in the middle of the night, that's good enough for me.