I had my baby shower this past weekend. It was a more "traditional" baby shower in that it was all ladies and lots of baby gifts. Since I don't really have any friends my age here in Anchorage (yet), everyone who attended was my mom's age and more so my mom's friends that mine, but they've known me since I was a little kid and have loved me for decades, so it was special to have them all there. We'll be having another "baby shower" next month in Tacoma with all our friends our age, it'll be co-ed, and more like a regular 20-somethings party with the reason for the party being that I'm growing a human as the only thing that really defines it as a baby shower at all.
I choose to go through so much of life alone. I don't know exactly why I do this. Part of it is certainly due to my introversion. It's easy for me to be alone and do stuff alone. It takes so much more effort to go out and do stuff with people, or to try to coordinate with others to do stuff. And now that I'm in Anchorage and know virtually no one, I spend my days alone almost exclusively.
I wasn't prepared for how much introversion would effect me as an adult. Growing up, introversion isn't really something that gets in the way of interaction with others. You go to school five days a week, do after school activities like sports or other things with other people, and we even lived with another family that had kids, so we were always playing outside together, choreographing crazy dances together, and sharing mealtimes. College is similarly easy to remain social as an introvert. Classes 5 days a week, constant programming from clubs and dorms, intramural sports, department events, and living in a dorm where other people are always running around doing something or other.
My biggest struggle since graduation hasn't been that I wasn't prepared for the job market, or didn't have enough education, it's that I've lost the community that was built into the school system. I was lucky enough when I moved to Tacoma that Dan had basically grown up there and had a huge network of friends that I easily slipped into, but even that wasn't easy for me. As an introvert I like being with people, but initiating things on my own, as opposed to having a veritable buffet cornucopia of events and groups to attend, has been probably the hardest transition from graduating college 7 years ago. Ugh, seven years it's been that I've been struggling with and trying to figure this shit out. That's not frustrating at all.
I'm afraid that becoming a parent will make my tiny social circle even tinier. I don't want to spend the next seven years stuck in the rut I've apparently been stuck in since graduating college. For as much as I ached to get out of Tacoma for so long, now I'm feeling like I threw away the closest thing I had to a social community of friends since college (not that I threw them away, they're still there and we can still go to them and have that community there waiting for us, hence our Tacoma baby shower party). I felt so stuck in Tacoma, and was so looking forward to a fresh start, but it's been harder than I anticipated to have no friends or community of people our age to socialize with here in Anchorage.
Maybe this move was just to show me how valuable that was (don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?"). Renting out your home and moving 2500 miles is an obnoxious way to learn that lesson though. Who, What, and Where does this next year have for us? I don't think we'll stay in Anchorage long term. Is it back to Tacoma? Is it to the road in the Brave? Is it somewhere totally new and different (Nashville? Joshua Tree? Portland?)? For now, all I can see through is the end of 2016 where we'll be holding a new tiny human, celebrating the Holidays. 2017, you are a crazy mystery to me. Be nice to us, okay?