We live in a growing area. One that’s just as full of history as it is full of vibrant millennials who want to see things happen. This is ever-so-present on my social media feeds, where I’m seeing more and more micro-businesses popping up here and there, and the side-hustle (which I had to look up in order to understand the meaning of the term) is real. And, apparently, #TheStruggleIsReal too. (Not sure what struggle, but it is real, it seems.)
But what I’m struggling with is the fact that I, as a working mom, don’t really fit into one particular box. I’m too old to be a millennial. (Though it looks like they really do have a lot of fun exploring the areas and taste-testing beer at dog-friendly craft breweries after hikes in the mountains, and enjoy leaving work a smidge this side of 5pm in order to relax at one of the many local happy hours.) And all of my friends aren’t millennials, either. (Though sometimes we sure wish we could live like them, trust us.)
Alas, with kids in tow, my hiking days are limited (if at all), my visits to breweries are virtually non-existent, and (yes, I’m referencing a quote from a PBS show) “What’s a happy hour?” So, I can’t hang with millennials. Which leaves me with a lot of old-fashioned jealousy and even more FOMO. (That’s “Fear Of Missing Out,” for those of you like me who need to look THAT term up.)
But I also don’t fit in with the more established crowd. You know, the age where your children are just old enough to not need a babysitter. The age where you join dinner clubs or country clubs or any other sort of club where you can talk with other people in your same life-stage. And the conversation doesn’t have to revolve around which cartoon is the newest to hit the circuit, or which kids flick is the must-see. Or couponing.
I feel like I’m in purgatory, but not in a negative way. Rather just to say that I don’t fit in a box. And our society is very much wrapped up in boxes. People, whether they realize it or not, prefer everyone to fit into a box – and ideally one that they can label and understand.
As I see our Upstate continue to grow up, I can’t help but wonder if I’m growing up, too. And if once I finally get there, I will have missed out on all the fun along the way.
We’re slated to get how many new restaurants this year? I can’t keep track. And each promises a new spin on the following: farm to table, plow to porch, deconstructed, artisanal, carefully curated, and reimagined (just to name a few). I want to try them all. I want to eat at every single one of them. But then I realize I need to pay a sitter $15/hour in addition to the food and (large) beverage bill.
Seemingly every week there is something about a new brewery. Or one that has been re-purposed. Again, would love to try those. But somehow I think it’s not particularly cool for anyone involved to bring several kids in tow while mother-of-the-year tries the beer sampler (go big or go home) and Dad has to drive us all home afterwards. #MomFail
My friends who are in the “established with older kids” box are in a sweet spot. Dinner at the club, weekend golf, and (heck) even dinner at any establishment anywhere without having to bring all children seems like something out of a movie.
I know we’ll get there one day, and we’ll hit our groove. And I wouldn’t change one thing about our crazy, organized-yet-chaotic lives. I love the life we live, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
But as I see our communities, cities, and Upstate in general grow up all around me, I can’t help but scroll through my newsfeeds at work, look longingly out the window, and think to myself, “Maybe we can try that restaurant next year.”