There, I’ve said it.
An e-mail from an old friend confirmed it.
I remember twenty years ago, two friends sat me down and said, “You’re different than you used to be.” I was 14 and I can still feel the sting of it. Because what they were saying, truly, was, “We used to like you more.” Looking back, perhaps I had changed a little bit. I had branched out in my friendships, entered high school, had a boyfriend/first love. But I didn’t really feel any different. I felt like the same old me, growing up a bit, and living my life.
Today’s e-mail from an old friend felt the same way. He knew me when I was fun. And I was fun. Together we drank too much, spent too much, behaved wildly and irresponsibly – you know, basically we went through our early 20’s together. I would wake up hungover on his couch, or in his roommate’s bed. Together we took half-dressed flying midnight leaps into NZ’s Lake Taupo. We hit the city’s newest restaurants and ate, drank, and laughed lavishly.
Today he told me that he didn’t comment on my Facebook posts because he didn’t like reading the comments my mommy friends made – they made him sad. I do post photos of my kids, and comments about kiddos and parenting but I try very hard to make sure they are less than half of my content. Because I don’t want to be that annoying mom who can’t talk about anything else. But who am I kidding, this kid business is pretty all-consuming, so sometimes it is hard for me to figure out anything else to talk about. And I’m not sure why the mommy comments made him sad. Probably because he is missing the old me – he’s said so much before. Probably because he knows that he and his wife will start their own family soon, and he can see that it is all-consuming, and life-changing. Probably because I was fun, interesting, lively and while I don’t feel all that different, I know that I am – at least a little. And probably because he is longing for the life that he used to lead – before responsibilities, before true adulthood – and I am a reminder of that.
But maybe the sting is because I know, on some level, he’s right. I’m sure I read too far into his words, because I’m insecure about if and how I’ve changed. But I don’t want him to feel like I’ve given up, given in, gotten tired, even though I feel that way sometimes. I don’t want him to give up on me, because that may mean I have given up on myself.
I do know that my kids make me happy, my husband makes me happy. They make me laugh, and they make my life and heart full. But I do fear the day will come when I will look into the mirror and not recognize who I am, where I am, and why I am. And when I look at myself, and say, “My, you’ve changed!” I just don’t want it to mean, “I used to like you more.”