TGIF

It’s Friday.  The work week is over.  A long, holiday weekend is in front of me. 

Just like every other Friday (or any day in general) I come home to a house where two happy pups are wagging their tails and excited to see me. I give them some love and ask them how their day was (yes, I talk to my dogs). After that, I check on Landon, the teenager who shares the house with me, yet I seldom see him, who’s in his room online gaming with friends. Then, I go out back, say hello to my flock of chickens (again, yes, I talk to my chickens), collect eggs, feed them and give them fresh water. This right here is the highlight of my day. And, it’s the same thing. Every. Day.

Other people come home to their loved ones. Their partner in crime. Their boo. Hell, I don’t know what couples call each other anymore. I’ve been out of the game so long I’m not sure what it’s like to come home to anyone anymore. And simply put…. I’m lonely.

I wish I had someone to come home to everyday. Someone who is interested in how my day was. Someone who is as excited to see me as Toby and Parker are. (Those are my dogs by the way!) I wish I had someone to talk to about my goals and ambitions.  I wish I had someone to give me career advice.  Recently, I’ve been racking my brain about where I see myself in a year, 3 years, and beyond.  I know I’m capable of so much more career wise.  I feel like I’m in a rut. And there are days I REALLY wish I had someone to talk to about it.

I may not have a lot in life, but I have some AMAZING friends who are ALWAYS there for me. So when I say that I’m lonely, I mean that after my day is over, I want more than just my couch, a cup of coffee and Netflix to comfort me. However, my small group of friends make themselves available for me. Whenever I need them. And for this I am thankful. Not everyone has friends like this. I am truly lucky to have them in my life. Because without them, I would be more of a mess than I already am. And that’s scary to think about.

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Hell, maybe more like the last two months. I put on a brave, confident, I’ve got everything going for me face. But there’s a reason I don’t play poker. People who know me well can see right through my so-called brave face. And they call me out on it. I am the type of person who doesn’t like to burden other people with my problems. My usual answer when asked how I am doing is “fine.” Sometimes I even switch it up and say, “I’m good.” However, in my core, in my heart, I’m not.

I’m not going to bore you with any specific details.  And I will get through whatever this funk is.  I’m a tough cookie.  Eventually, I’ll be OK.  But right now, I have a lot going on in my head.  I over think everything, I beat myself up about every little thing, and I only make things worse for myself.  Especially when I spend most of my free time at home, ignoring my phone, and staying locked up in my own little pity-filled world.  There are some changes in store for me. I have to do what is best for me. I have to learn to love myself. Flaws and all.

Please don’t take my rawness as an attempt to get attention or pity from you.  I am just being real.  I hope this serves as a reminder that everyone is facing a battle, going through a hard time, or struggling in some way, shape or form.  They may not always show it.  So be kind to everyone and smile at strangers.  Sometimes that’s exactly what someone needs, especially when they have no one to go home to.

When Did I Get Old?

This morning I woke up a little before 7am, just like clockwork.  No alarm needed.  I got out of bed, let the dogs out, opened up the chicken coop and made my way back into bed.  It’s Sunday.  I wanted to sleep in.  I should have known better.  After an hour of laying in bed watching the morning news, I decided going back to sleep wasn’t going to happen.  So, I got up, made my bed and headed straight for the coffee pot. 

As I waited for my coffee to brew, I reached up into my medicine cabinet and took my multivitamin.  After I enjoyed my morning brew, I got dressed and headed to the gym.  80 minutes later (today was cardio day) I headed back home.  When I got home it was time to take my daily pill.  I reached back into the medicine cabinet.  I started prepping dinner, had some chicken chores outside to take care of, vacuumed and dusted the house.  At this point it was only 1pm.  I figured with nothing left on my agenda, I’d jump in the shower.  I headed to the bathroom to take a shower when halfway there I remembered that I have a lumbar injection tomorrow morning.  At that point I smiled.  Then laughed out loud.  It was also when I realized – I’m a 60-year-old woman.  When did this happen? 

Let me take you back to Friday.  Friday, my dad and I went to a Morehead City Marlins game.  It was a father-daughter date night.  On the way to the field dad told me he tried looking up someone on Facebook and he said, “They must not be a Facebook user.”  I replied back, “Yeah, this younger generation doesn’t really use Facebook.  They are more of Snapchat and Instagram users.”  My dad started laughing and repeated my, “This younger generation” in a mocking way.  Laughing, I looked at him and said, “Seriously, dad, I can admit I am not young anymore.  But my generation is probably the last that uses Facebook for social media and connections.” 

Fast forward 15 minutes when we pulled into the Michael’s parking lot.  I needed something from inside.  Dad turned off the truck and followed me in.  I went straight to the yarn aisle.  I was there no more than 3 minutes when I hear my dad yelling, “Hey old lady, hurry up and pick out your yarn.”

Well, there you go ladies and gentlemen:  My 65-year-old dad called me old.  And he got quite the kick out of it. 

Then, on Saturday, while I was at a friend’s house, her daughter wanted to show me the redecorating she was doing in her room.  We went up to her room and asked my opinion on a few things.  She sleeps on a twin bed and was trying to figure out what to do when she had guests sleep over.  As I was giving her some ideas, she looked at her loveseat, chair and ottoman she got from me a few months back and said, “Or they could just sleep here.”  The look I gave her must have warranted an explanation because she just stared at me when I finally replied, “Well, you are young.  Young people can sleep anywhere.  But there is no way I would be comfortable there.  My back would be killing me.”  After that comment I had to laugh at myself.  “Wow.  I just said that.  I’m old!”

So here I am.  35 years old.  I take daily multivitamins.  I workout every day despite chronic back problems.  And for this I purchased a $3,000 Tempur-Pedic mattress 3 years ago and receive regular injections in my back.  I go to bed around 9pm every night.  And I’ve recently started crocheting.  Personally, I think I am trendy, hip and fashionable.  But I’ve come to discover, if you call yourself “hip” you are probably old. 

Hi.  My name’s Anne.  I’m not as young as I used to be.  When did this happen?

Talking to Strangers

I’ve recently watched a TED Talk – Why You Should Talk To Strangers – presented by Kio Stark.  I’ve never heard of her before, but the title of the short video was enough to pique my interest.  She was encouraging people to talk to strangers.  Her reason:  When you talk to strangers, you are telling them “I see you there.”  And when you look at talking to strangers in that way, she says you develop a genuine emotional connection with someone.

Fear not – this blog is NOT a recap of the video I watched. If anything, I’d much prefer you watch it for yourself.  However, as I watched and listened, it made me smile thinking about how fortunate I am to live in the south.  Here in the south, there is no such thing as a stranger.  Us southerners can pretty much talk to anyone, at any time, for any reason.  While it may not be some in-depth, life-changing conversation, where life-long friendships are formed, sparking up a conversation with someone you don’t know is more like an unwritten, southern hospitality rule.  There might as well be signs on I95 southbound stating – Last chance to turn around if small talk isn’t your cup of tea.  (And by tea, I obviously mean sweat tea.)

I’m reminded of a time when this small-town girl from eastern North Carolina traveled all the way up to Harrisburg, PA, for work.  – Spoiler alert, that small-town girl is me. –  A few of my colleagues and I decided that before we checked into our hotel for the evening we would go out and grab some food.  We found a bar and grill a few miles from our hotel, walked in and decided to sit at the bar.  It was one of those oval shaped bars that no matter where you sat, you could see everyone.  As I was looking at the menu, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat.  About the same time, I saw meal after meal being delivered to my fellow bar sitters.  Naturally, the southern girl in me started asking everyone sitting around the bar what they were eating because it looked so good and being from out of town I was hoping they could give me some recommendations.

At that very moment you could have heard a pin drop.  You should have seen the looks on their faces.  They glared at me in disbelief.  I have never felt so unwelcomed in my entire life.  The bartender walked over to me and gave me some recommendations. 

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

No wonder you don’t hear the phrase: northern hospitality.

So next time you happen to have a few minutes in your day, and you’re willing to look up from your phone for more than 5 minutes, spark up a conversation with a stranger. Maybe they’ve been feeling lonely or just seem to think nobody takes notice of them. And then you come along, a pure stranger to them, making note of their existence by exchanging a few friendly words and maybe even a laugh or two. This could be all that they need in order to feel noticed.

The B Word

It was only a matter of time.  I knew this day would come.  And I’ve accepted it.   I have become the B word.  

I.  Am.  A.  Blogger. 

See, I just finished my degree in Management/Marketing.  For nearly two years my studies included social media marketing, advertising and promotions, and web content.  Blogging is a relevant, online tool.  Don’t believe me?  

The number of active bloggers in the U.S. is estimated at around 31.2 million (statista.com, 2019).

Yet, I’ve never had the itch to blog.  I tend to be late to current trends and fads.  So I am not at all surprised that it took me until now to muster up the courage to give blogging a go.  But it didn’t happen overnight.  For the past couple of weeks I have been researching blogging.  Why do people blog?  Where do I start?  Do I have time to devote to this?  And finally, why would anyone be interested in reading MY blog?  

So here I am.  Taking a chance.  

My blog, This Unexpected Life, will not provide you with recipes for amazing meals, crafty ideas or DIYs, and I definitely wont try to pretend I can give parenting advice (I still toot my horn every year I keep my kid alive).  So if you are looking for expert advice in any of those areas… you’ve come to the wrong blog.  But if you are looking for the occasional laugh – stick around.  Follow me.  And enjoy the show.