You know that feeling you get when you’ve been with a group of people for a while, and they’re your friends and you see them all the time, and you share things, and you think of them as peers, and then one day you realize that they’re all the group and you’re not one of them?
I get that a lot, probably because my social circle has almost no one like me. And because my daily routine, and the things I like to do, are out of sync for who I’m supposed to be.
I’m forty years old and I have a professional technical career. The people I see around here that are my age are married, have maybe a kid in high school, own property, and are appropriately in the middle period of their lives. Their careers are in full swing and they’re busy with child-raising, working on their houses, working on their marriages.
I live with my mother in the house I grew up in. (To be fair, I lived on my own for years and years, but.) I am unmarried, and I’ve not been on a date for years; I’ve never had a girlfriend. I don’t own anything more than my car. I wear a t-shirt and jeans. I hang out at a coffee house almost every night with people 15 years younger than I. I feel like one of them. I’m interested in the same things, my life pattern is similar, I enjoy their company. But I’m periodically reminded that I’m not one of them. And they move past me. They get engaged and married, buy houses, have kids, move on.
I got stuck at about age 18 and never went past it. It’s nightmarish, like a corny Twilight Zone episode. I was reminded of t this again tonight, predictably, at Trader Joes watching the twentysomething couples buying their groceries together and looking clean and pretty and hip and well-organized and couply. They’re as smart as I am, just as interesting, just as sophisticated and cultured as I like to think I am, and they’re miles ahead of me and only a little over half my age.
And as much as I fool myself from day to day about my social scene, I’m not one of them. Twenty years ago I was with my peers and I was in a place where I belonged. That all moved along and I’m still here.
I can’t stand it. I hate pathetic people like that. Like me, I mean. Like me.