Why read the paper for upcoming births, when you can just check Facebook?

I just found out via the informational super-timesuck that is Facebook that my best friend from kindergarten is– wait for it– PREGNANT.

Now, we don’t really talk anymore, unless we run into each other. We were pretty good friends right up through school, although we only hung out a few times. So why do I feel so, so sick right now?

I think it has to stem from a number of things. I’ll make a list. Lists I can do, especially when I’m upset or stressing.

Why I Think I’m Upset Because My Best Friend from Kindergarten is Having a Baby

1. We’re not even twenty-one… she’s older than I am by like a week! Are we old enough to care for living organisms wisely? Is twenty a responsible enough age? I thought this was the age to run around and get shit-faced and make impulse buys and have indiscriminate sex? Most people our age (the ones I know, anyway) can barely take care of themselves. Like, they can’t even wash their hair on their own. And maybe I’m strange for feeling this way, but I know that I can barely take care of the puppy, and the puppy’s not even my puppy, officially. Let alone a baby. A freaking human being thing relying solely on me.

2. I don’t know the dad situation. This requires a sub-list.

a.) None of my business, first of all.

b.) From what I glean from Facebook, they’re together and really happy or something of the sort, which eases my panic slightly

c.) Like I said, none of my business, but she’s known for having gone through many boyfriends. Doesn’t say much for stability… but what the hell, who am I to talk? I won’t have a steady job until August, so I’m leaving that alone

d.) But speaking of jobs, so she’s going to work in town for the rest of her life? What does Baby-daddy do for a living? They’re just going to stay in this itty-bitty town with the same people and the same routine for the rest of their lives? How is anyone okay with that? (Sub-sub list: 1. I should not be so judgy, and I know it. Let the record state that I am not attempting in any way to pass judgment, I’m simply ranting and worried and stream-of-consciousness-ing this shit. 2. My mother was okay with staying in this itty-bitty town with the same people and the same routine, ever since she and my dad got together. She’s worked at the same bank in the same town for nearly thirty years. Then again, she was married for ten years before I came along, so… not sure exactly what that’s proving.)

3. Back to reasons why I’m upset: this smacks of poor planning. Isn’t there something else, at twenty, that one wants to do before settling down with a child? Like, I don’t know, move? Travel? Live? For me, child-rearing refuses to be a pastime that one chooses to engage in when there are a few spare minutes. Maybe it’s just the way I was raised, but from the second a kid is born, they need to be the Top Priority. There should be thought and effort and love poured into that child’s upbringing. I know that if I ever had a child, they would be the center of my world, immediately. With that knowledge in place, I can comfortably say that it will be a long, long time before I am financially stable enough to support anyone other than myself. And when that happens, I’m test-driving the money theory with a giant dog, just to be sure. There’s just no way I’d even think about bringing a child into this world without a safe, stable home, enough money for healthy food, and adequate time to spend with it.

4. That said, I’m starting to think that I might be equally upset that my friend has the freedom to have a child. That sounds crazy, probably. And you know, I never thought I’d want one (I still quaver at the thought a bit). But there came a certain point (I can’t remember if it was earlier this year or last) where it hit me: if I want to make something of myself, and have a career in the profession I am most passionate about… I am going to have to give something up. I fear that might be a real relationship. I fear that I might have to give up marriage, or if we’re being modern, a deeply committed romantic partnership. I fear that means giving up any possibility of children of my own. A successful opera singer (sopranos, particularly) will hit their prime mid-thirties. Guess what that means for me? All of those years before– my twenties, early thirties, when most women meet a man and fall in love and have those traditional, often lovely things– need to be spent working. Practicing. Singing. Otherwise, no payoff. No success. That’s the way it looks to me right now, and although I want the work, and need the stage– I fear I don’t have the freedom, the luxury, to just meet a guy and have a kid with him. I can’t be that irresponsible, or that disloyal to myself and my goals, because honestly? The second I learned of a new life, one I’d be charged with loving, raising, and protecting? All of my goals, all I’ve worked for, would evaporate in favor of that child.

So maybe it’s that I’m too selfish. Maybe I’m too scared. But maybe the reason my stomach sunk and my heart broke a little upon reading that news, about my best friend from kindergarten, is that I can’t. And it’s such a common thing to see or hear about today, with young women who aren’t necessarily in a permanent relationship or supporting themselves. Not that that’s what she’s like, or what she’s going through. I hope that she and her current boyfriend will stay together forever. I hope this baby will be born into a stable, happy, loving home and grow to be someone magnificent.

I hope my list will be sufficient to get me through the rest of the facebook updates I’m sure will come… and the moronic comments that will undoubtably accompany.

[EDIT] because I just can’t leave anything alone: I did a little more creeping into the cybersphere and I honestly think that they’ve got it figured out. I update mostly for my own peace of mind, to resolve the shock a bit for myself. It’s just so strange to know that people I’ve grown up with are going to be raising families of their own. It’s even stranger, and going to be significantly more difficult, I imagine, to reconcile myself with the fact that this is something I will not get to do if things work out for me career-wise. The busiest, most successful people I know fell in love late in life, past the time when they could have had a family. The people I respect the most, that fall into this category, tried marriage and children and sucked at it, divorced and then found the love of their life. So, I guess it’s a predetermined game for me, and I have to deal, and not freak out because other people get to have a traditional life and I can’t. I chose this— because I love it, because it loves me back, and because I can make some kind of a difference by doing it.

And if it makes me sad to read about all of these pregnancies on Facebook, well… I mentioned it’s a timesuck, right? Might as well not even waste the time.

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Expedition to Well-readedness*

Who knew a person could actually own so many unread books? I feel like a hoarder. Actually, I think I might be a hoarder in real life. A book hoarder. (I posted pictures; you’ll see. Just promise not to judge. Or, if you do, don’t tell me.)

I’m not only a compulsive Amazoner (“Oh, look, this book is only $3.99! That’s basically free! I’ve never read that… “), I’m a used bookstore junkie. Ask me about the Schumann and the biography of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf I found at Greenwood Books, just down the road from Eastman. Go ahead, ask me.

It’s not that I don’t want to read them. It’s not that I’m not capable. It’s simply that pesky thing, that life thing, that keeps interfering. I think that half the reason I buy so many, revolves around the simple fact that every time I see a classic I haven’t read and don’t own, or a three-dollar, four hundred page steal, or a twenty-cent gem at a garage sale, I am reminded that I spend a great deal of time meandering about, complaining about how busy I am (occasionally/aka most of the time, I actually am that busy, but I digress**). Whenever I see something I’ve been meaning to read, or might enjoy, I can’t help but grab it and flip through, maybe smell it or something; I fantasize about the gray afternoon in a presumably not-so-distant future where I will curl up with my treasure and relinquish Life, just for a few hours.

It rarely happens. HOWEVER,*** this summer I have vowed, due to my lack of a full time, real-people job (don’t worry about me, though, I’ll still be busting ass), that I will plow through the mountains of books in my room. That’s right: not pile, not stacks, not even singular mountain: MOUNTAINS****.

There are going to be hours this summer where I will stare at page upon page of cyrillic and transliterations and just want to scream. And so I plan to soothe myself with a good old-fashioned English language storybook. If nothing else, I’ll get through some trashy romance novels. And for some tragic drama, toss Sophocles in there (since I found the complete works all nicely bound together in Greenwood! Love that place… almost as much as I love Sophocles). Maybe I’ll add in Vonnegut, and although he might be somewhere in the depths of the mountain (appropriate, actually), I’d like to finish at least the classic Tolkein.

But we’ll see. Maybe I won’t have as much reading time as I’d like. Maybe I’ll pull an Oedipus and stab my own eyeballs out for lack of patience and eyeball stamina. Or maybe I’ll read half my unread library and be pleased with myself.

I have been tallying a books-read count since January. As of right now, I’ve gotten through a whomping nineteen (and a seventh, I have a 700 pager going currently). I’ll keep this updated, maybe. If I remember… ha, ha.

In other news, I am blogging for the first time ever from my bedroom at home in the boondocks. We have previously only ever had dial-up internet, and I am pleased to report that my stubborn mother finally, after nearly twelve years of mutual hatred, read the death sentence to the old-fashioned internet connection after one too many failed attempts with online taxes.

And now I have to resume the cleaning of my barely-unpacked bedroom. Below are my mountains of books… photographic evidence. Remember not to tell me about the judgments I’m sure are to follow.

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You’ll see that at least I have a bookshelf with which to store them (in the background)… albeit a currently empty bookshelf

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There are books in those pink tote guys, too… this bookshelf is about ready to call it a day

* Complete with footnotes and halfway decent grammar

** Holy shit, run-on sentence of my life, right there…

*** Naturally in caps due to its importance, not my itchy caps lock finger

**** Here we see my exuberance, exubing***** exuberantly

***** Clearly not a word, I’m just feeling rambunctious today