I went for a lunch date with my friends on Friday. There were four couples and we had all made time to meet up for a relaxed lunch, without kids or any other distractions. When all of us arrived, we realized, that we hadn’t done this in the last five to six years, since the oldest kid in the group was five year old and the youngest, a year old.
At first, all of us were just excited to be there without our kids, and we vowed that we will not feel guilty about this outing. I noticed that the men seemed to relieve themselves of any guilt far more easily than the women. Even when I know for a fact, that all the women in the group are smart, independent and feminists of sorts. Maybe its an emotional thing, or a mother’s thing, I thought to myself.
We quickly ordered a ton of food and just one round of drinks, because all of us had to get back to work. We also realized, that we had managed to finish all of that food within a record speed of an hour!
One of the men exclaimed, “how is that even possible?”
When another woman commented, “Well, it probably comes from years of gobbling down food, while keeping an eye out on your kid, kind of practice”. We all nodded in agreement.
We talked about our offices and cribbed about the work-life balance and our corporate policies. We talked about the insane working hours and how we have to punch in and punch out, like the old days. Then we talked about our kids.
One of us observed, that we should not be talking about our kids at least this one time, since we wont get this opportunity again in another five to six years probably, so we talked about old age, middle age, health and fitness and all sorts of diets that all of us had tried in vain, but were nowhere closer to losing that paunch that most of us had. Then, we focused on our food. And then we talked about our kids.
It was interesting to note, that all of us have daughters – a one year old, a 2 year old, a 3 year old and a four year old, and we all agreed that all our daughters were feisty and a handful and had a complete disregard for authority. We continued this thread for another five minutes, when one of us realized we were talking parent again!
So another intervention and another futile attempt to steer our conversation into any other subject other than our children and parenting woes. Really, we were turning into our parents, we thought, ruefully. Our children had taken over our lives and we had nothing else to talk about! Hahah
So, this time around, we tried to talk about hobbies and entrepreneurship. Each of us wants to do something different, exciting and creative with our time. One of the women likes to paint and probably dreams of building her studio one day, another wants to experience and explore solo travel options for women, another wants to open an online personal shopping experience for working women, while I want to write and be a reader and do something related to books.
The guys, similarly had different interests too – one wanted to be a car mechanic and drive vintage cars on the roads of Sicily, another wants to be a food and beverage blogger – but although all of us had some talent and some inclination, I got a feeling that at this point in time, our 9-7 jobs and our lives as parents left us with little or no desire or fire to pursue anything else with a passion. We all silently pursued our passions and called them hobbies. Me with my books, my friends with their shopping, painting, food blogging, stand up comedy skills and traveling. But is that enough?
Then suddenly one of us commented, the girls should do a girls trip together. And the follow up question was, whether the men would be able to care for the daughters for one night, or not. And then, we talked about our kids again.
After ten more minutes, and after polishing off all our food and drinks and paying off our bill for the afternoon, we realized, we had spent most of the afternoon just talking about our children, while the point of the afternoon was to try and get away from our lives as parents and IT professionals, and just be someone else, be ourselves for those few hours.
As we wound up our afternoon, I think each of us was probably having a different thought. The practical ones were busy on their phone calls and office work, the dreamers were happy to just have been able to get away from office, catch up with friends and have a drink, the non thinkers, didn’t care either way, while the cynics like me, thought, whether parenting had consumed us and taken over our identities and our lives, just like our mundane jobs had? And what will happen when we retire from both of these in a few years? Will we suffer from depression, just like our parents do now?
Or maybe, I should just shut my brain up and read the next book and get away from my awful thoughts and this world 🙂 Thank goodness for books! 🙂