Thursday, August 16, 2007

Friendly Phases

It was subtle, but yet obvious at the same time. The milestone I mean.

I hadn't really thought about it beforehand, but during the dinner I suddenly realized that "hey, the four of us couples are hanging out again!"

That's when I realized that we had moved on to another phase of our lives, and more specifically - our social lives.

Just a few weeks ago it was 20 years since the day I met my wife. And now that I look back over this time it seems I am able to loosely categorize the phases we've stepped through as parents and as friends of other parents.

They kind of look like this...


Pre kids
- This is the time when you first meet and get married. You're still hanging out with your other child-free friends, going out to nightclubs and generally living for yourselves. It's a great feeling of independence and growth as you
set up "house" together for the first time.


Babies and Toddlers - Here is where you'll meet people that until now, you've previously had absolutely nothing in common with whatsoever. Through places like Lamaze classes, ECFE, MOPS and preschools - you'll begin to bond with people in ways you never could have imagined. "Going out" takes on a whole new meaning as you arrange to meet with your new friends at the nearest playground or fast food play-place.

Kids in school - Enter the era of "events!" Time to tune up that minivan because you're going to be busy now. Get ready to roll as you head for sporting events, music lessons, school meetings/programs/conferences, scouts, birthday parties, etc etc etc. This list goes on and as the demand on your time increases, the frequency of meaningful socialization decreases proportionately. In other words, tell your friends you'll see them later.

Teens - This is the phase we're in now. And I as mentioned at the top, it kind of snuck up on us. You see, when you're deep in the "kids in school" phase, you kind of get used to not going out anymore and the idea that your kids (and your friends' kids) don't need you at home at night anymore doesn't necessarily occur to you right away. For me, the light bulb went off when just last week we were invited to join 3 other couples for a night out at a nice restaurant. The same couples we've known since the "babies and toddlers" phase. When Charli told me about it I thought, "Well whatta-ya-know, we all can do that now!"

Around the corner and down the road...

Empty nest - This is the next stop on our Tour de Life, and one we're actually planning for - somewhat. In only 6.75 years (but who's counting really) Roseanna will turn 18 and Charli and I would like to lift anchor and do something different. This could mean moving to a new location, buying a small ice cream shop and living like hippies in the loft above. At least that's the kind of thing we're aiming for. Most likely, this will cause some sort of exchange of friends, since it's not likely these plans will involve any of our current circle of friends.

Retirement - Even though I don't plan on living in a patio home in Florida and playing shuffleboard in the evenings, one never does know for sure. I've seen so many versions of retirement I don't even know what it means anymore. However, one thing though I would like to be able to do is travel. And now that I have new blog friends all over the United States and other cool countries like Australia and France, there's no reason we shouldn't be able to stop in and stay with them for free say hi. Then, we can take them out to dinner at a nice restaurant.

Or McDonalds.

I guess that depends upon what phase they're in now doesn't it.

19 comments:

Mooselet said...

I'm in several phases at the moment - is that possible or do you have to start over?

You can come stay with us for free; that is no money will exchange hands. I've seen your landscaping skills, however, and so will put you to work in exchange for room and board. Deal?

Jeff said...

mooselet - That depends on your oldest child. If your teen is helping to babysit your younger ones so you can go out with your friends, then you're probably in the "Teens" phase. Otherwise it appears you would be in the "Kids in school" phase.

I will gladly trade Charli's landscaping skills for a stay at your awesome place. Thanks!

Heather said...

I know, I know. My life sucks.

Whit said...

Babies and Toddlers phase doesn't have a lot of sleep involved. At which phase can I plan on sleeping again?

Carla said...

...we have less than one year and then we are outta here. I'm not quite sure yet where we're going, but we are. whoo-hoo!

yellojkt said...

I am one year from empty nest and can't wait. I just won't have any money to enjoy it since I will be paying college tuition.

Dad said...

I think there is another phase you forgot. It is called , "The Stay At Home And Change Diapers Of Your Parents Period". Don,t start packing your bags!!!!

rick said...

I had so much fun in the first stage, I'm finding it a little difficult to leave.

Jeff said...

heather - Ah, the ol babies and toddlers phase huh?

whit - I think that's the "when you're dead" phase. I say that because just when your kids are old enough to leave you alone in the morning, your body finds new reasons to not allow you to sleep.

carla - Well at least make sure to stop in and say Hi as you pass on by.

yello - What, they don't have student loans at his college?

dad - Nice try. I believe you're mistaking that for the "Find your dad a nice home where I can visit 4 times a year" phase. Ha - JUST KIDDING!!! I would easily visit you 6 times a year.

rick - Hey, what a coincidence. Wanna hang out with my kids this weekend?

Mom Thumb said...

We moved around so much we never had the same friends for the phases. Now that I'm in the empty nest phase, I'd like to travel, but what I'm really doing is trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Hubby and I are thinking about an island somewhere that he can charter plane rides and I can sling drinks. . .

Jeff said...

linda - Sounds like a plan to me. Just send me the address after you set up shop!

BeeHappy Laurence said...

Don't wait the retirement... Come in France NOW !!! :-D

Sandy said...

Hey, that gives me an idea!

If you ever do miss that first stage, you could always take our kids for a weekend!

Dan said...

20 years!! Nice job Jeff. My wife and I have known each other for 18, so we're catching up to you! In two years we'll be tied with you. Um ... oh no ... because you'll be up to 22. Geez! This isn't fair!

Diesel said...

Dude, I am totally kissing up to any bloggers I 'meet' who live in Hawaii, Australia, Italy.... My retirement is going to be one long mooching tour.

Jeff said...

laurence - Trust me, I'd be there tomorrow if I could :-)

sandy - Funny how that works, but you just don't seem to end up missing that stage. Although we are looking forward to be grandparents (in due time) so we can play with the babies. And then give them back. Heh.

dan - Don't worry, I'll keep you posted on what to expect 2 years down the road.

diesel - I'm assuming Minnesota is one of the places implied in those "..." things. That being said, you may commence with the kissing up any time now.

L.A. Daddy said...

The Pre-Kids days lasted a LONG time, but they seemed to fly by in hazy blur. We're in the Babies and Toddlers phase now... but I'm longing for the teen days.

I want to sit in my front yard, on a lawn chair, with a fishing cap on and a Hawaiian shirt, with a can of beer in one hand and a flyswatter in the other. And I want to have on dark socks and sandals. And I want to embarrass my girls as they beg their mom to make me get out of the middle of the yard in case someone they know drives by.

But I can wait. And wait I shall.

neva said...

someday... when you and your lovely wife make it over to Connecticut, Joel and I will take you kids out for a lovely Mexican meal, and, over nachos and salsa, share our happy little tale of marriage after one (me) already had 2 kids, who spent each and every summer in California (with my Ex)... and how we (me 'n Joel) managed to avoid A) "friends" (thanks to 13 moves in 22 years), B) any and/or all "events" and C) an "empty" nest.

yeah, 22 years, and counting... and we still can't seem to catch a "i'm ready to leave home, Mom & Dad" break. that said, there ARE a few folks we've known longer than a minute or two, so that "friend" thing may finally pan out. time will tell... ; )

wayabetty said...

Great post Jeff but it makes me kind of sad that we won't be able to travel for a while! And you can come and stay for free if you're in Boston.

The biggest milestone Sophia just reached is being able to poop in the toilet for the first time in her 2.5 years last night. It was like winning the lottery, well almost. At least we'll only have one more kid in diapers.