Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sorry I'm Not Sorry

This post has been brewing in my head for quite some time, in different formats and with different titles.  But earlier this week, the lovely Amy of Coffee & Sunshine shared this post which struck a note with me and got my creative juices flowing.  You should really go read the whole post, but her post is basically about getting excited about the life that you are living and not being ashamed or embarrassed of our passions.

I am going off on a bit of a tangent here, but after reading that post, I reflected back on conversations I've had with a couple of different people from different corners of my life.  And the topic of those conversations has been that I feel like I no longer fall under the conventional definition of "fun."

What do I mean by this?  Well, while I am certainly as single as they come, I am not living the stereotypical life of a "fabulous 30-something."  I'm not closing down the bar. I don't go to dance clubs.  I don't meet up with friends for cosmopolitans on a Tuesday night.  Let's face it - most nights I am in bed by 9:30 and that includes Friday nights as I have to get a good night of sleep before my long runs on Saturdays.

The truth of the matter is -- I never have enjoyed going to bars, not even in college.  I've never been good at staying up until last call.  I mean, truth be told, I have actually been known to fall asleep at the bar on occasion (yes, seriously, there are photos to prove this)!  I have never been, nor will ever be, the life of the party. 

But I spent so much of my 20s apologizing for or being embarrassed or insecure about the fact that I wasn't good at staying out late or drinking more than 1-2 drinks in the span of an evening, and I let myself believe the lie I had been telling myself - and that lie was that I wasn't a fun person.  Now that I am 31 and have a better sense of self and my priorities/interests, I've gotten to a point where, well, I'm not sorry that I don't enjoy those types of activities.  Don't get me wrong - I do enjoy getting together with friends for cocktails and conversations, I would just prefer to be out between the hours of, say, 7-10, instead of 9-12.

I've redefined my definition of fun.  Fun to me means getting together with girlfriends for wine at one of their houses, which might mean taking part in the bedtime rituals of their little ones (which are moments that I relish, as I know they are fleeting).  Fun is getting together at 7 am on a Saturday morning for a double-digit long run around the lakes and rivers of Minneapolis in the company of my fellow run club members.  Fun is a night in that includes a home-cooked dinner and tackling my next knitting project.  Fun is sharing my passion for all things French by planning an over-the-top delicious menu for our next Julia Child night.  Fun is getting giddily excited over my newest striped apparel purchase. Fun is losing myself in the pages of a book.  Fun is browsing through books at Barnes & Noble with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. Fun is engaging in conversations with family members over memories of the past. Fun is playing countless games of Go Fish with my nephews (and suspiciously never winning).  Fun is planning trips to see other bloggers, both near and far.

I will say, it took me the entire decade of my 20s to get to this place I am today - a place where I can embrace my passions and share them - be it a passion for numbers and bonds, or France, or the season of Advent, or macaroons, or white wine.  But I am done saying I'm sorry or wishing I was different than I am.  And yes, I still encounter situations or events that make me insecure about the fact that I am not 'the life of the party,' but for the most, I've learned to embrace that I am who I am.

So no, I am not living the stereotypical 30-something single life, but I think the life I am living is the right one for me.  And better yet - I think it's fabulous.

I thought I would close with a short poem by one of my favorite authors, Mary Anne Radmacher, which sums up how I feel just perfectly:

with passion live
with attentiveness love
with courage imagine
with integrity communicate
with perspective play
in all things and in all your ways
build your legacy with joy.

29 comments:

Becky said...

"but I think the life I am living is the right one for me. And better yet - I think it's fabulous."

YES! Lisa I love this post so much! I too have never been one for the bar scene or big parties (I never went to a frat party in college and didn't feel like I missed out on anything). I'm so glad you're comfortable with who you are and happy in that knowledge - because you're awesome. Seriously LOVE this post!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I know what you mean about feeling like you should apologize for how you are - it's a horrible feeling! I am so glad you are at this place in your life. I think our 30s are all about embracing who we are because in our 20s we were trying to figure that out. Sounds like you are already there and that is wonderful!!
Great post!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Bingo! I think it takes a while to figure out who you are and so you try different groups and learn what you do and do not like before finally realizing where you fit in. I think there are many people who share your ideas of fun. I think that thanks to the internet, you can realize that faster than you would have before.

You are fun to me. I love spending time with people between the hours of 5-9! Usually time with friends consists of making dinner in rather than eating out, and, like you said, then their kids can still run around the house, etc! I am glad that you are enjoying what you have rather than wanting/trying to enjoy what others do!

Lisa-Marie said...

I think all of us have had these thoughts. I spent my early 20's nk wanting to miss out, bit you realise that you have to make your own fun and happiness, and enjoy the people who have similar ideas.

abbi said...

Love, love, love this! It took me a very long time to accept the fact that just because my fun is quite different than a lot of other people's fun does not make me in some way inadequate or a terribly boring person!

paigearoo said...

I couldn't agree with you more. It took until my late twenties for me to realise I'm not a social butterfly AND THAT'S OK. And I've stopped feeling bad about not wanting to go out until 2 am. I love my early mornings, my quiet time, following my own passions.

Caroline said...

Yes! I love this post. In college, everyone would always want to go out so late and I would challenge it constantly asking why? I usually was able to convince my friends to do things earlier, but in NYC, I had no control over the situation. Sometimes we would be going out at MIDNIGHT - stupid! I hated it and sometimes I would send my boyfriend/friends out without me while I went to bed :) Now that I'm home, I have plans to fully embrace the early hours of the day, which means going to bed early! I also want to start finding fun things to do with my friends that don't involve staying out and drinking.

Marlys said...

I love this post, too! It is so good to feel comfortable about "who you are", and not have to apologize for it! I think some of your traits are inherited! :)

Nora said...

I can relate to this post on so many levels... I don't drink much (my bachelorette party was the exception) because it literally makes me sick. I find that I have to apologize for that or explain myself all the time. There are at least 10 other things that I don't like to do or aren't my cup of tea and I feel like I'm always making excuses or reasoning with people rather than just being me. I should probably change that, eh?

And for the record, I think you are all kinds of fun! I love every chat we have, every time we get to see each other, and having you as one of my BFF's!

Kathleen Ojo @ Onward; Inward said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I spent my early 20s drinking all night, closing down the clubs, and doing all kinds of things that didn't bring me any joy because that's what everyone else was doing. I didn't feel comfortable admitting (even to myself) that I didn't enjoy these activities because that would have made me abnormal. 20-somethings are SUPPOSED to enjoy a certain lifestyle, right? Only when I hit 25 or so did I realize that, like you, my fun is found in the aisles of bookstores or catching the sunrise on a morning group run. And once I embraced that side of myself, I started meeting more people who were just like me :-)

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

This is a beautifully written post, Lisa. Thank you for sharing some of the raw feelings that you have felt. As much fun as I had in the bars in my 20s, I'm so done with them in my 30s. Even before we had Gavin, Sweets and I much preferred going out to dinner with friends or hanging out in someone's home to watch a game. So much quieter, less disruptive, but certainly no less fun.

Amber said...

Such a great post! I struggled with this a lot in college as I was not a huge fan of going out (like once a week was good for me, most of my friends went out 3-4 times a week!) and even now in my early - mid twenties I have so many friends who are just stupidly spending money and going on big trips and stuff all the time and sometimes it's hard to be "responsible" even though I know I would be a STRESSBALL if I ever let myself get in as much debt as some of my friends so carelessly do.

Another way I think it's important to be 'true to yourself' is in relationships. Sorry I'm not sorry that I don't go to bed at the same time as my husband every night or that we often cook/make separate things for dinner. Just because other couples do something a certain way and it works for them doesn't mean that we have to.

OK, I feel like this comment is rambling so I'll stop now :)

Leigh said...

I hear you! I am the exactly same way in terms of drinking and going out to bars. I've never been a big drinker/party person and some people don't understand that. I get asked all the time at get togethers why I don't drink....I still don't understand the big deal about not drinking. Sure, maybe if I liked beer/wine then I would. I'm glad that you are being you because that's all that matters! Plus you are pretty fabulous!

Stephany said...

I can't even EXPRESS how much I loved this post! Yes, yes, yes! Not only because I am really the same way. I've never been one for the social scene. I like small groups and hanging out at coffeeshops and homes. Not the bar or club scene. Uh uh.

I'm beginning to embrace this side of me more and more as I get older, and not worry so much that I'm not "fun". I had a really good friend once tell me I was "boring" which hurt a lot but you know what? Who cares? As long as I'm enjoying my life and diving deep into my own passions, what does it matter if that seems boring to other people? I think quiet, introverted people get that label so easily when it's the furthest thing from the truth. No, I will never be the life of the party and it takes me a long time to warm up to people and I will forever find my voice lost when I'm surrounded by people... but that's me and who I am.

Again, SUCH a great post! I loved it!!

Allison said...

I think you sound like the right kind of fun to me. :) I was never the bar / club scene when I was in college or when I lived in Manhattan. It just wasn't me. I enjoyed my life elsewhere. I actually have it on my Life List to have one night of clubbing at some fancy NYC club... just to say I did it! I don't particularly think I'll enjoy it but I want to at least see what it's like.

As you can see from the comments, I think there are TONS of us (and OK, I'm not 30 yet, but I am married!) that are just not into that stuff. So I don't think you are unfun, you're just a different kind of fun.

qwerkyqook said...

Makes sense, it takes time to develop an independent personality, plus your frontal lobe keeps developing till mid 20s. I think you've found your groove. Stay confident in that, you are fabulous.

missris said...

I love this post! I'm also not the life of the party--been there, done that, now I'm tired and responsible and not interested. Sometimes I'm a little sad I'm not a bar start but then I realize that I don't want to be, and that I like my life the way it is. And then I'm not sorry at all.

San said...

You and I, we would get along so well in real life! We have so much in common (ok, the 7 a.m. run on Saturday mornings is not my preference, but I'd be up for a 10 a.m. run any time! :))

Alli said...

Love this post! And I think that you are great just the way you are so there is never a need to apologize. I am a little worried though about you coming to visit me since I do live the exact NYC life that people see portrayed on Sex and The City. I mean I'll expect you to put on a pair of 7 inch Loubatin's with me then take a limo to the hottest club in town, flirt with the bouncer then sashe up to a group of wealthy European business men who will buy us $20 martinis all night before we stagger home at 7am because, ya know that's how I roll!

PS- I honeslty don't even know what the hottest clubs in town are!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I have to agree with the many people who have said you ARE fun :) Obviously you know I agree with this post because we've talked about it. I was not drinker at all in high school and my curfew was 12, I rarely wanted to push this later. In college I tolerated a later bedtime but I usually only drank/went out 1 night of the weekend because it takes me the other to catch up on sleep. When I first started work I would say I was pretty anti social because I really didn't want to be out til all hours and thats what most people I knew were doing. Now that I am a bit older, I feel like almost everyone in my life agrees with me and I can easily be social and not have to worry about staying out too late. Even Eric's friends who were notoriously late night people have calmed down a bit and we do more daytime/early evening things with them. If only I could convince one of his brothers that a good night can end at 10, I'd probably be smooth sailing :) But I also find it really sad that anyone ever made people like us feel like we are "not fun" because we don't like to stay up late. Do I make people feel not responsible because they don't like to get up early? haha. I swear I think I developed anxiety from teaching and from fear of being stuck out later than I want to be. Such a ridiculous thing to be anxious about!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Yes, as we become adults, we finally realize we can stop apologizing for who we are. Though it can be tough. Katy Widrick did a good post on Sorry, I'm not Sorry. I think that's where that phrase first originated, but not sure.

Having real connections with people is nothing to be sorry for, that is for sure! I had some fun times staying out late at the bars in college and into my mid twenties, but that just doesn't happen anymore. Now, going out for one or two drinks with the manfriend or the girls is a real "party." In fact, we may be going out for margaritas tonight.

Melissa said...

I LOVE THIS POST so much. It reflects who I am right NOW, and I imagine we would have been really similar people if we had been the same age at the same time. I still go out on occasion and enjoy staying up late, but not every night. Not NEARLY every night. I drink once in a while and don't even think about drinking as something to make a night *better*. I can't go out and party and be wild & crazy. So many of my friends are like this, but no matter how hard I try it's just not who I am.

Thanks for this honest post & for sharing, Lisa! :)

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Good for you girl! You should never have to apologize for doing what makes you happy :-)

Gracie said...

I'm so with you on this! I think the reason we apologize when we were in college or young 20's is that it (to me at least) almost felt "holier than thou" to say that I didn't want to go out or didn't like bars. I felt like I was making other people uncomfortable by refusing or leaving early. Now I'm more comfortable about politely refusing or just making a joke about it. Plus now most of my friends have kids so there is less pressure to stay out now!

J said...

So true Lisa! I was never a bar/drinking person although I did partake once in a while in college. Now since i have been graudated for almost 3+ years, I am finding finally most of my friends are coming around to not partying. It was tough at first, I lost a few friends because they were still partying alot and I wasn't. I was spending time with family and friends and going to bed early. You have to do what is right for you and sometimes it takes a while to be comfortable in it. I finally feel like I have found people to surround myself with that have similar ideas and goals in life and I like that!

Amy said...

SUCH AN AMEN TO ALL OF THIS.

Jeanie said...

Lisa, you have your head screwed on so straight I am wildly impressed! (Or maybe I just think you are a kindred spirit!) I always used to feel I had to apologize for not being more wild, but ultimately, when you are doing what you love and living your life the way you like and want to, then you have really reached a point that takes some decades or more.

I can't tell you how much I love this post and how much I admire, respect and like you for being a dynamic, fun, creative, smart and motivated woman. I'm glad you are my cyber friend!

Shoshanah said...

I really love this post! It's just silly to feel like we should be doing certain things just because everyone else does, even if we don't actually enjoy it. And even though we can all point out that it's a silly feeling to have we all, myself definitely included, do it.

Journey Authentically said...

I love this.....thank you.