Wednesday, July 15, 2009

on being a hermit

After years of denial, events of this summer have forced me to finally acknowledge the end of one phase of life and the beginning of a new one. Gone are the days of flitting around as a social butterfly and acting as everyone else's social coordinator. I have officially evolved into somewhat of a hermit, sometimes a cantankerous one.

I mostly blame Brad for my transformation. He can be a bit of a curmudgeon when forced to attend social outings that hold no interest for him, and unlike me, he's never been concerned with his social calendar. As long as I've known him, Brad has preferred to stay in rather than go out on most occasions and I'm afraid that his attitude has finally rubbed off on me.

During high school, college, and my early 20s, I delighted in making sure that my friends and I were always well entertained. I was the one who volunteered to go to Lake Michigan's front at noon on July 3rd to camp out all day in the heat and reserve a large space for my friends and I to enjoy the Taste of Chicago's amazing fireworks display that night. Before the Internet's birth, I began the round of phone calls on Tuesday nights each week to coordinate schedules and plan our Friday and Saturday night excursions. My roommate in Chicago and I hosted numerous parties and dinners during our two years living there. I can't recall many, if any, Friday or Saturday nights during those years when I sat at home with nothing to do. Believe me, at that time I would have been devastated to face such a predicament.

I've gradually let go of a few social commitments over the last ten years as my priorities and activities have changed, but this summer has really shown me that I am not only in danger of becoming a hermit, I fear that I've fallen in love with my reclusive lifestyle and may never turn back!

This summer has been the most low-key season of my entire life. My Thursday evenings are free because I teach only during the fall and spring semesters. Our church small group has taken a summer hiatus, thus freeing up every other Tuesday night. Our co-ed softball team folded, which provides Brad and me an average of two free evenings each week as well as an occasional Saturday. Brad and I only have one wedding to attend this year. We've already taken our brief vacation. Marathon training is finished, and I don't have any other big projects on my plate, such as writing a dissertation. Although the house projects seem to never end, my Twilight obsession taught me that it's okay to prioritize reading time over my to-do list sometimes. Life still went on even though the house was dusty, the menu simple, and the ugly curtains still dominating the living room! I've only had one week this summer of social commitments every single night, and while I enjoyed seeing different groups of friends each night, it darn near killed me. I will not overschedule myself like that again.

Sadly, I find myself even avoiding summer events that have somewhat become traditions, just because I'd prefer to go straight home after work and not leave the house.

We've had a fair amount of company this summer, but even those social obligations have been subject to restrictions. I only promise gracious hospitality to overnight guests for a maximum of three nights. No open-ended stays are allowed at Hotel Blondie. I need to know when you're leaving. I find myself scheduling dinner parties and BBQs earlier in the evening than I used to, in hopes that guests will leave at a decent hour so that I can retire at my desired bedtime. If this behavior continues, before I know it I'll adopt my friend's husband's practice and just start distributing coats and purses unsolicited when I'm ready for people to leave. I do admire his courage!

I have two things this summer that I've never had before: a relatively open schedule and time on my hands.

I think that I am in love.


Smiling Mama said...

My grandfather used to say, "We ought to go to bed so these folks can get home."

I think part of the change this summer is probably enjoying your home so much--who would want to leave?

kerryandtorey said...

we are the same way and often use Hadley as the excuse (you know her bedtime is 8pm)! There was a time that going out at 8 or 9pm was perfectly acceptable but if we get invites now for that time it is almost appalling. I love that your friend's husband passes out coats and purses- that is funny :-) we appreciate that you and Brad like to do dinner and outings early.

diana onorio funk said...

i'm just now catching up on blogs, and came across the reference to joe's special brand of entertaining. :) enjoy being a hermit... it does have its positives (though i'm really glad i got to see you last week!!).