In case you don’t know, I’m a full-time caregiver. I take care of my mom during the week and most weekends because she has dementia. Ever since her diagnosis in 2013, people insisted that I need to “get out” more, “have a life,” and be a “normal young adult.”
So, when weekends come around and my father is with my mom, I scour social media for supposedly fun activities. I find activities here and there about which I am not overly fond. Or my friends suggest some opportunity to turn up at one nightclub or another. I dress up in my head-to-heels black and smokey eye.
Ten minutes in, I am ready to go. home, that is. Because the music is too loud, no one asks me to dance (not that I’m interested in dancing with anyone here anyway), and I my feet hurt. But I stick it out because this is all supposed to be fun, right?
I relish the ride home. As the soft jazz music slides out of the speakers at 1:00am, I stare longingly out the window and wish I was laying on the hood of an old car, staring up at the stars, breathing in the fresh air after a bonfire with warm smores and good people.
Last night I had the distinct privilege of doing something I’ve not done in awhile. I made a new friend. It’s a woman I met via local Facebook group. We’d tried getting together a few time and it never worked out. Until last night.
As a socially anxious individual, I was worried. Online dating was always awkward, so I was concerned that online friending would be awkward as well. But I prayed, took a deep breath, and headed out the door. After talking, laughing, and connecting with hours inside of her cozy, older home, I realized that for the first time in awhile, I was having a really nice time.
A really chill evening of food and conversation set the stage for an even more enjoyable Saturday. I woke up, did my Bible study, prayed, meditated on what I wanted to achieve for the day, and began cleaning. The kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom. All to the soundtrack of mellifluous voices of NPR in the background.
I paused from cleaning for just a moment for an impromptu dance break. I pirouetted and lept across the carpet, spinning and laughing. When I finally took a seat and a breath, I briefly wept. Tears of joy filled my eyes as I gasped for air. I cried, not from sadness, but from feeling the long-lost joy I finally found.
I don’t know about you, but I have never cried joyful tears after a night at the club.