Here’s the problem with taking a gap year in my small hometown: All my friends are at college or in their senior year of high school. High school is at least 30min from my house. College is at least 60min from my house. And if I want to see them all, they’re at least an hour away from each other too. Not only am I working on my scheduled life, but I’m also feeling out my social life. I have Lliam, my boyfriend, who I’ve been spending a lot of time with. But he’s also a senior in high school. I know what “senior year” means and how much spare time those friends actually have on their hands. I also know how much gas it takes to be continuously driving places. As for my best buds in college, I could make a trip or two out to see them, but that’s a once-every-couple-of-months deal.
After some thinking, I have come to the conclusion that the social life of an adult is very different from the social life of a student. I have been connecting with more people and realized that as I get older, I am able to relate to people of a wider age range. “Friends” in high school meant the people that I saw every day and could invite over for the weekend or go on a spontaneous Salvation Army shopping spree with after school. I can imagine that it’s similar in college but even better because you’re practically living with your friends. As a gap-year-student-(adult?)-in-transition, I have observed that friendship will change throughout my life. I have friends who are my age but I remember that through classes at Greenfield Community College and elsewhere, I connected with people significantly older than I. And I have begun to consider some of my parents friends my friends as well.
Last week I took a paneer making workshop with a few other women. The workshop was lead by Cecilia who invited me to dinner to talk about tiny houses. Cecilia and her husband Emmet built a tiny house while they were working on Sidehill Farm in Ashfield and needed a place to live. Hurray for experienced tiny house livers! I arrived at their house for dinner and I helped prepare the meal while talking to them about vegetarianism and diet, college and education, work, travel, and tiny houses among many other things. Though they are at a different stage in life than I am – out of college and have kids – I was delighted to be able to connect through so many topics. I figured this must be what adult friendships feel like.
(I keep forgetting I’m kinda an adult. When did that happen??)
After dinner when Emmet and Cecelia’s girls had been tucked in to bed, we sat on the cozy couch with the little black kitten, Willy, and sweet small dog, Maisy, eating pumpkin pie and talking about tiny houses while Emmet carved a wooden spatula. It was extremely helpful to get their feedback on my plans. Some of their most helpful and interesting suggestions included insulating my house on the exterior instead of interior, and changing my loft plan. I realized that I’d hit a wall and decided that my plans were perfect – that I was ready to build. But hearing some of their comments, I discovered that I had my doubts about my layout. In this week before my trailer arrives, I’ve been thinking about my house differently and playing with all the ideas on paper and on SketchUp – the 3D drawing computer program that I’ve been teaching myself to use. Emmet and Cecilia also lent me three books. The first is “A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander. This is the third or fourth time I have heard about the book and all three times it has been described as “the bible of homebuilding.” They all raved about it. The second book is “The Humanure Handbook” which, later on, will help me learn about composting toilets. Another that I have seen on friends’ bookshelves and been wanting to read. The third was a guide to wiring a house. When I finish writing this post, I’ll be reading “A Pattern Language” to help me design my tiny house and give reason and purpose to all my space.
Lastly, I have been feeling especially fatigued lately and I’m thinking it has something to do with my diet. I have tried taking iron supplements and eating a lot of greens and protein to boost my energy levels. But these haven’t been having the effect that I’m looking for. I see a small change, but I also forget to take the iron supplements sometimes. So I’ve been wanting to try eating chicken and fish (I may have mentioned this in an earlier post?) and have tried bites of different things including some red meats. But when I got to Cecilia and Emmet’s house, they told me they planned on cooking risotto with chicken for supper – unless I didn’t eat meat. Cecilia assured me that the chicken had a happy life in their back yard munching on clovers and so I decided to eat my first full meal with chicken! And besides being absolutely delicious, I noticed a significant positive change in my energy levels for the next two days. Hurray!