So BFF ran a 17-mile race the other day and I felt like a total tool when I experienced a twinge of not-quite-envy-but-close-enough. Since I’m not usually prone to twinges, which is the secret to our enduring friendship, I forced myself to deconstruct the emotion and came up with this:
There are some things that people do that are either trending or fashionable or expected or “good for you” and I feel I ought to jump on the bandwagon so I don’t feel left out/ignorant/laughable/fat. It’s the 21st century version of “keeping up with the Joneses”, only instead of wanting to own the most things, we’ve become a society that expects social, physical and moral improvement with the endgame being perfection. In the end, it produces a toxic amalgamation of guilt and envy and competitiveness.
I don’t like it. Especially when I feel it in relation to BFF.
Now I think I’m of that age that I can/should let go of getting hung up on social mores, and I feel I ought to anyway for the sake of my sanity and my best friendship. So today, I give you the 5 things that are NOT on my to-do list even though it seems socially mandatory:
- run a marathon – I’m proud of BFF but long distance is just not my thing. Give me a quick 5K any day.
- take a class in [insert trendy gym activity here] – I don’t want to yoga or zumba or spin or pole dance. I can’t help it that all my interests (reading, knitting, blogging, watching Doctor Who) require a sedentary bordering on Wall-E lifestyle.
- go vegetarian/organic – More power to people who are environmentally/socially responsible. But honestly, you baffle me. I grew up on Tang and Spam and seasoning all foods with MSG and I survived. I’m sure my kids will too.
- dress my age – What does that mean anyway? Does it mean giving up shopping at Forever 21 and Aeropostale? Does it mean I can’t show off my gams anymore and I have to wear sensible shoes? No way. Not on my watch, baby!
- enroll my children in [insert expected childhood activity here] – We are not a sports family. We are not a religious family. We are not an artsy family. So we don’t do soccer or youth group or piano lessons. This one’s kinda sketchy for me – I do feel like a bad mommy if I don’t expose my kids to these things, but it’s just not in my nature to press. However, if I don’t expose them, will they be at a disadvantage? Thoughts on this?
Okay, ending rant here. I’d really like your two cents’ on #5 when you get the chance, but I don’t think I’m ever gonna budge on the others. Then again, never say never, right?