I know some people who spend their youth just waiting to get married, dreaming of the day the love of their life drops to one knee in front of them and raises up a ring, eyes a-twinkle. I was not one of those people. In fact, I would’ve guessed that I’d probably never have gotten married or had kids, being adamantly opposed to marriage in general and kind of absurdly independent. I wasn’t the romantic type. Just ask some of my exes.
I can confidently describe myself as a creative type. I can also definitively call myself a stay-at-home mom. These two roles, I’ve discovered, can often be at tormenting odds. When thinking about it, I do find it ironic that creating a human being could make me feel so creatively stagnant at times.
When I first heard about the concept of social media, my reaction was, “That’s the dumbest thing in the world and I’ll never use it.” I resisted (before embracing or at least accepting) MySpace, then Facebook, then Twitter, then Instagram. It all seemed so unnatural, before it so easily became second nature.
I hated being pregnant. It was a miserable, disgusting experience that I would never like to repeat.
I had what would probably be considered an ideal pregnancy. I was in excellent health when we conceived, and remained active throughout. Up until I set foot in the hospital I was in a habit of walking 5 miles and swimming half an hour every single day, eating a healthful (and plentiful) diet, sleeping soundly and staying positive.
Walking home, I witnessed an interesting exchange (interesting in one respect that it’s not at all out of the ordinary): Two teenage boys (I'm guessing around 14) walked past two teenage girls, one tall and blond. The boys ogled, catcalled, and one of the young gentlemen said a few aggressive words ending in “bitch.” The other responded with, “Dude, don’t call her a bitch,” at which point my hope for mankind rose markedly, but only for a fraction of a moment before he continued, “That girl was hot! It’s when they get out of line that they’re bitches.”
The day after Halloween, I caught myself asking if it was too early to put up Christmas lights. It got me wondering where this impatience stems from. I’m not overzealous about Christmas in the traditional sense. In fact, the traditional sense has always eluded me. Possessing Christmas traditions would imply that I have a clear-cut set of ideas about what to expect for that day of the year, some thread of shared ritual running through each of my three decade’s worth.
Here is a guide on how to be a successful freeloader, in one sense of the word. I’m not talking about being an irresponsible, inconsiderate leech, nor am I talking about clipping coupons and hunting deals, but making do with no income or assistance. I don’t just mean scraping by, waking up every morning with the one goal of foraging enough calories to stay alive until bedtime. I’m referring to actually living life on little or no money -- being entertained, having experiences, being well fed. It takes creativity, relentless research, and dedication to become a skilled, honest freeloader.