I had a conversation the other night with someone I'm very close to -- related by blood. She informed me that I had withdrawn from life. She stated it in this context: You know what your problem is? Actually, it's our problem. You have withdrawn from life.
When I questioned her on this she snapped at me: "When is the last time you contacted 'Jane Doe'?" who was a high school friend. I told her that high school was 23 years ago and that I had no interest or desire to contact Jane Doe because our interests had changed, she chose a professional life (she's a physics professor) and has no children. We both grew and our common bond (high school) was no longer there.
"Yes, but." My relative said this. Yes, but. So I waited. She stated that I am a hermit. I hide in my house. I don't go out, I don't have friends and I don't do anything.
She stated that I don't like people and I have admitted it. Well, that's partly true. I don't like some people and I did state that.
So according to the blood relative, the definition of a hermit who has withdrawn from life is:
A mom, who is an introvert, who likes to stay at home.
A very active volunteer in Cub Scouts.
A mom who homeschools her child.
A mom who hates carting her child around and taking him to classes, but does so anyway.
A mom who initiates play dates.
A mom who meets friends in the park for play.
A mom who goes to others' houses so kids can play and moms can gab.
A mom who takes her child to the beach, parades, community events, walks, zoos, swimming, etc.
A homeschooling mom who joins the local homeschool group and does one activity. (Okay, she may have a point on this one.)
A mom who keeps in contact with local people that I have no common interests with and don't share the same beliefs because said mom is open to having her child exposed to all different types of people.
A mom who endures four weeks of sitting on the benches watching swimming lessons.
A mom who is constantly on the go.
A woman who chooses her friends wisely. I'd rather have a few friends that are close than many acquaintances, although I do have many acquaintances.
A woman who has a best friend that is so special and vital to my life -- one that I have phone contact with (at least two hours at a shot) once a week, plus emails. (Said friend lives three hours from me.)
A woman who has made good internet friends. Friends that I have stayed in weekly contact with for six-seven years.
A woman who is fortunate enough to have the best online homeschool support group imaginable -- 10 fantastic women, 11 including myself) that I can share almost anything with. These women are so great that I have met five of them in my travels.
A woman who is in tune with herself and knows that she is an introvert and needs to recharge at home.
A woman not afraid to make choices to benefit her needs.
A woman who follows her interests. While I don't have the time to jump into things that I would if I didn't have a child, I still have my hobbies.
Oh, shoot, I could go on and on.
The conversation then took the turn of past friends. For some reason she thought I didn't stay in contact with anyone in the past. Not true. I keep in contact with good friends from the past. Not daily, not weekly, but a few times a year.
I was a little defensive with this person. I was also floored with the "withdrawn from life" statement. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's like homeschooling, you teach to your child's strengths and weaknesses, you figure out his learning style and go with it. Well, I've figured out my life style and I make no excuses for the way I live. I go with what works for me.
After about two minutes of reflection on this conversation after it ended, I came to the conclusion that said relative was projecting her own issues on to me. It's so much easier to find fault with others than to be open and honest regarding self. Although sometimes a fresh perspective from a friend is of value, I don't think that's the case here.
Sure, I have issues...I'm fat, I would rather stay at home than be in a large crowd. I would love to have a close friend who lived in my town. I get down every once in awhile. I get frustrated with my husband. But all of those things ARE life. If I would have withdrawn from life, none of those things would ever bother me. I'd be too busy being numb.
So rest assured sweetie, I have not withdrawn from life. And neither have you. If you had, you wouldn't be thinking.