Last night, my husband and I sat up late talking about the past 10 years since we’ve met. It’s amazing how much we’ve grown and changed from the awkward 18 year olds trying to impress each other with our guitar skills.
“Wow!” I reminisced. “I used to be so artsy…” And it’s true. I used to wear weird stuff, write poetry, play guitar, paint, draw, I loved photography, I sewed stuff, I thrifted and decorated, I made my own little indie videos, I wrote and recorded music, I scrapbooked and made cards, I traveled every chance I got, saw every new movie, tried every new restaurant… I was a dork, but I was still SO COOL…
Why don’t I still do all that stuff? I started getting a lot more “vanilla” when we left college and got real jobs. I thought I’d get back to it as a stay at home mom, but even one kiddo can leave a lot less room in your life and budget for “extracurricular” activities. With my sheltered homeschool background, I’ve come to really value participation in trends and pop culture, and I think I’m doing okay. But I’d do so much better if I weren’t on a Walmart budget. Crafting is often an inexpensive form of self expression, but two kiddos and limited workspace often takes this activity I once enjoyed and turns it into a huge frustrating CHORE. I think I’m in a “quarter life crisis” because I’ve found myself increasingly thinking, I just want to still be cool!
“I feel the same way,” my husband expressed, “every time I get on XBox LIVE and get my butt beat by a 13 year old Mountain Dew drinker that has nothing better to do! I used to be so good–” I couldn’t help but laugh!
“But, now, you have a LIFE!” I interrupted.
That’s when it hit me! We have major double standard when it comes to men’s interests and women’s interests. Have you ever been with a group of women and listened to how guilty we are over activities we’re not doing??? “Oh, I used to do so much more for the holidays! Now I don’t even feel like putting up a tree!” “Oh wow! I used to be so good at couponing and finding bargains, but after the #3 was born, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to buy a Sunday paper!” “You know, we used to see so many movies, but we haven’t been to a theater ONCE this year!” “I used to quilt.” “I used to knit.” “I used to scrapbook.” “I used to write.”
With guys it’s different. “I used to play video games.” “I used to be into basketball.” “I used to work on cars.” “I used to collect model airplanes…” But we consider it a positive thing when men put these hobbies aside for the sake of work or family. But if I quit knitting, it’s like I’ve given up a part of my identity!
If his garage band breaks up because he’s got kids and needs to spend the weekends with family, then we say, “It’s good. There’s more to life than hobbies.” When a woman decides to give up community theater and spend more time with her husband and kids, we take a tragic tone and say, “But it was your passion!”
But, now, you have a LIFE!!!
Today, I was reading a blog about vintage fashion. I silently pined for a larger closet, more money, more time to shop, more reason to dress up, more time to apply makeup and style my hair… Then I stopped. Because, now, I have a LIFE!!!
Next time I look at a gorgeously decorated living room in Better Homes and Gardens and wonder why I no longer keep my space updated with the latest trends and colors, I’ll look at my chubby bundle in his swing and my toddler at his train set and remember, “Because, now, I have a LIFE!”
Next time I see a gorgeous still life and wonder why my sketch book and camera are both coated with dust, I’ll look towards my husband and remember, “Because, now, I have a LIFE!”
Next time I read a tutorial for a cute skirt and wonder why my clothes are all mass produced, I’ll think of the fun I had this week with my friends and remember, “Because, now, I have a LIFE!”
Interests and hobbies and passions and arts will come and go with the seasons of life. It’s time to stop falling into to the trap that these things make up your identity. It’s our interactions with real humans, the friends we touch, the family we cherish. This is the stuff that defines a life and molds a soul. So, next time you woe a talent you left by the wayside of more carefree years, think of the room that void left for the people you care for, and realize that you only lost interest because, now, you have a LIFE!