Lots of milestones in life unify people for one reason or another. Home ownership, entering the working world, and becoming parents are just a few of the world’s great unifiers. But if you really stop and think about it, those things really bring people together. And when you are in the company of a person with something like that in common, it seems to take quite some time before there is even a slight lull in the conversation. These unifiers are just the things for which we can all offer differing perspectives, and tell a story. And because of that commonality, we can relate, be entertained, and just shoot the breeze.
Many of these unifiers brought me into some fun conversation last weekend. I attended a holiday sweater party in the neighborhood. For starters, we all have our neighborhood in common. Now, I am somewhat left out of this because the neighborhood is filled with custom homes (for none of these do I actually know the name…) and then we live in the original farmhouse. I know. We are lucky. Our house is, well, an awesome piece of history. But, choosing this place, owning a home there, and having a genuine interest in the neighbors brought us all together. And might I say, it was a supremely fine time.
Motherhood is another big one. It is not unlikely to have a glass of wine or two, and then find yourself trading labor stories. For people who have not yet had kids, or do not plan to have them, this probably sounds completely barbaric. But I promise you, get one woman talking about pregnancy, and the next thing you know, you have learned most of the labor, start to finish, what the husband/partner was doing that time, and obviously, how it all ended (sometimes down to the last gory detail)… But if you’ve been through it, or want to go through it, it gets pretty darn interesting. Motherhood unifies us.
These unifiers brought me to another, rather entertaining, realization: I probably would not have been friends with ANY of these people in high school. While I didn’t eat lunch alone or anything like that, I was more of a theatrical person, and my social group reflected that. I was somewhat shy (until you knew me), and probably didn’t give myself enough credit in terms of a social life. But, you certainly did not find me at the “popular” lunch table. I was a nice person (except in fourth grade… I don’t know why, but I was the meanest little brat on earth. I guess I was insecure. Why does a 4th grader act sadistic? I do not know… if I could turn back time I would lay the smack on my 4th grade self!!!) . But in any case, at the top of the social ladder, I was not. And as I looked around this party, it seemed to me that I was surrounded by people who were probably infinitely cooler than I was in high school. And this gave me the greatest laugh, because who cares? Look at us now. We all pay bills, go to work, or run our households (or both), and we all enjoy donning a silly sweater, having a cocktail, and eating delicious food. And we can trade some darn fine stories in the process. Some people dread the real world: the bills, the responsibility, and gasp, the gray hair (well, at least for me!). But you know what? The real world can be super sweet too. Because somewhere along the lines we all get real, barriers come down (if they ever even existed in the ways we thought they did in high school), and we spend time for the sake of spending time. And we enjoy. It’s all good, man. Happy Holidays :)