I remember a time when if someone would ask me to go to a friend’s birthday party, a wedding, or a girl’s weekend, I did not hesitate: I was there. There was rarely a time I would say no to any event, in fact I often planned them, inviting everyone I knew. I have many wonderful memories of wine tasting events, late night birthday party celebrations, bachelorette parties, and weekend trips with the girls. Nowadays….I am not there, and there are reasons.
Last year alone I missed 3 weddings of dear friends (some family). I missed numerous birthday gatherings. I was not there for wedding or baby showers, girl’s lunch meetups, or happy hour fun. Each time I was invited to an event, I could not commit, but held on to hope that at the last minute I might be able to go. I knew my non- commitment was upsetting to others, but I had a choice: say “no” or say “maybe”. So I chose “maybe” as my response and tried to make it happen. But, 95% of the time: it didn’t happen. I was not there.
I heard of the whisperings about me, I could sense the tone of disappointment in texts and calls. I knew people felt I had checked out of our friendships. I tried to maintain some connections as best I could: texts checking in, random phone calls….but that was all I could fit in. This made me feel anxious, like I was letting everyone down. I hated that feeling. I do not enjoy missing out on so much, I do not enjoy letting people down. I do not enjoy people being mad at me. Also, I do get serious FOMO. It’s not like I enjoy missing out on fun.
I am sure I have lost some friends. Some are hanging on, but barely. I because I am not there at every event and gathering seems like I just don’t care, but that really isn’t true. Call it motherhood, call it marriage, call it the changesadulthood brings, call it whatever you want. But it is not that I don’t care. I celebrate in my heart for all of my friends for all the reasons they gather, even if it is happy hour or coffee.
When I say, “yes” and cannot make it, when I say “maybe” and don’t show, when I flat out say “no,” I am not missing things because I hate my friends or have checked out, I miss things because…well a lot of reasons. I assure you, when I miss any event, I am not just chilling watching TV (who has time for that unless it is 12am), drinking wine on my back porch (I wish!), or enjoying a nice romantic dinner with my husband (a girl can dream). Instead, I missed because…
-My kid was sick with a fever
-My car decided to go on the fritz
-I didn’t have the money at the moment
-Another friend asked me to babysit last minute
-Someone asked me to help them move
-My cat brought in a dead animal and I am in freak out mode sanitizing my whole house
-My husband thinks I am never home and never cook dinner (insert eye roll, but it is sadly true)
-My neighbor had a crisis and I needed to help
-Someone needed a ride to the airport
-I was confused the event was even that day….like for real, it’s Saturday already?
-My washing machine flooded my laundry room
-A random family member decided to drop into town, time to play hostess!
-I haven’t bought groceries in a while and this is the ONLY time in days I will have to get to a store
-My son had a project for school due the next day, so there goes a few hours
-A friend called and spent two hours on the phone because she is struggling with depression
-I have multiple events to attend, and I can only choose one
-I had to meet someone from work
-I was just so tired, slightly depressed, and incredibly overwhelmed
-WORK, WORK, and more WORK (managing your own small business means you work 24/7)
-My kid was sick…again
The list could keep going, and yes those are all legit reasons I have missed things. Lots of things. Most things. But when someone says, “Can you help me move?” I am there. When they say, “Hey I need a break from my kids!” I will help. I do not say that to glorify myself, I say that to say: I try to make time to help as much as I can, and even then sometimes I can’t. I truly love everyone in my life, and I want to be helpful when life gets tough. But I don’t have time to also have fun often right now.
If I can fit it in, I will. If not, I won’t be there. Often I truly plan on it, but know at the last minute my life can change in an instant. I am sorry I am not there for every event and celebration. It’s not personal. It’s just my life right now. Maybe this phase will pass, maybe not. Either way I am truly happy (though very busy) in my life, other than the nagging anxiety I have of letting people down, but I am learning to overcome that too.
I really do want to be there. I will try to be there…but…well…I might not be there.