So THAT’s where everyone went!

Atlanta, GA

So, as thirtysomethings (oh, now that’s frightening…) we’ve been wondering.  For the past several years actually…

Where the heck did everybody our age go!?

By way of explanation – we were living in Alameda (“Where?” *sigh* we mean “The San Francisco Bay Area“).  While we were living there for the 6 years before we left on this trip, we eventually became aware of the fact that we mostly had friends that were either younger or older than us.  At first, the absence of our own age group didn’t really register.  We were running our own businesses, which is typically something people older than us do and is guaranteed to keep one both busy and distracted from aspects of their social life.  Also, we married pretty young (well, young for our peer group at least) so we’d been out of the singles scene for some time.  Additionally, both of us had become accustomed to not being around people our own age (life as an officer in the military can do that) so it had not really been considered all that odd and starting our own businesses made us somewhat socially isolated as well.  Finally, while spending our time working as sailing crew we often spent time with people who, in their own words “had kids older than us.”  (By the way, no matter how you put that, no one likes to hear it.  Thanks to those of you who have refrained.)

So it came as quite a shock to us when we found out that our generation had not been all systematically and quietly exterminated or rounded up for alien abduction / experimentation.  But really guys, it sure would have been nice if someone had dropped us a memo when you all decided to move the freaking clubhouse.

While Greg was in Atlanta with our friends helping out with the kids the older girl gets invited to a birthday party at a local “play place.”  Not really sure if that’s what you call it – the basic premise is that they have a ridiculous amount of kid’s play equipment inside a climate controlled warehouse and you pay for admittance.  We’re sure if you have kids you’re probably aware of what we’re talking about.

indoor play place

Because this is what has apparently replaced nightclubs and expensive coffee shops as the place where members of our age group now congregate in order to hang out.  Or wherever it was, we’re not exactly up on what predated the play areas.  You don’t hang around hospital nurseries right?

While off key happy birthday songs were being sung and cake got served served to the kids Greg noticed something odd: the person he was idly chatting with was actually born within 12 months of his own arrival on the planet!  Things like cartoon references and music actually aligned!  Fascinating!  Greg was dumbfounded…he hadn’t even noticed what he’d been missing!

It makes sense really.  A lot of you went off and had kids.  We didn’t.  We just never thought to change the question from “where do people our age hang out?” to “where do people our age WITH SMALL CHILDREN hang out?”  Because that does fundamentally shift ones recreational options.  It shifts ones travel patterns, buying choices, eating habits, sleeping ‘patterns’ (snicker) and who knows what else.  Heck our friends own a mini van…a MINI VAN!  And it’s actually a logical choice for a vehicle considering the number of people (and equipment) requiring transport.

minivan interior

The minivan, by the way, has become way more awesome since we were kids.  We’ll stick with our Amigo & Saturn coupe but still, sweet automatic go-go-Gadget doors, nice seats, GPS, enough secret storage compartments to give our sailor friends some envy,  climate control and installed DVD / CD / MP3 players.  Oh and yes, now Greg finally understands why this last piece is a very useful / nigh essential addition to a vehicle utilized in the long range transport of small children.  “It’s like a GameBoy when we were kids” were his exact words.  It’s especially cool how you can throw all the volume back behind the driver’s area so the driver and shotgun can have a ‘grown-ups’ conversation under the distraction of Veggie Tales’ Silly Songs. (This, of course, assumes Tiffany doesn’t prefer the Silly Songs to talking.  She is a fan.)

 

One of Greg’s friends, the wife of one of his high school friends and therefore a decent gamer along with being a proud mother of 2 wonderful kids, said to him the week before he left, “You’re so lucky to do this, I wish I could.”

To which Greg replied,

“We’re both on an adventure, they just have different rewards.  Mine come now.  Tell me you want to change places when we’re both 85 and you have someone to visit you in the nursing home.”

 

So since we managed to find you again, dear generational co-members, could someone drop us a hint about where we should be looking for you in a few years?  We mean, it would be odd right, to go to a 4th grade play just to make friends?  That’s weird?  So where do we find you freaking people?  Is there a reference guide, or something?

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at www.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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15 Responses to So THAT’s where everyone went!

  1. hnorte says:

    Don’t look for me in that nursing home when I’m 85! I’m a traveling!!!!!!!

    • Greg says:

      I have long expected to find your mangled remains wrapped around the lion you take with you on that “one last safari” you just HAD to go on mother.

  2. Jerri says:

    Too funny. I’ve wondered the same thing. When I go to my 8 and 14 year old cousins’ birthday parties, I have to go sit with the moms who are usually my age. Once I explain to them I don’t have kids, it’s like we instantly have nothing to talk about. So uncomfortable. I’d rather just go play with the kids. These days I’ve found that the only place I do feel comfortable is the dog park! Other than that I guess I’ll have to keep checking back here, because I don’t know where anyone goes or where they’ll be either.

    Also, I know the who’s going to visit me in the nursing home feeling. My grandma lives in a retirement community and she has tons of friends and is even on a putt-putt team. It’s probably not as hard to find friends at that age if you live in a community as it is in our 30s.

    • Greg says:

      At least, as I have come to understand, when you play with kids the parents are grateful to you for distracting them. ;-)

      and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who wonders about the life-endgame thing.

  3. Erica says:

    I noticed when my friends dropped off the face of the planet as well. While we may not technically be 30 somethings (we’re 29/28), most of our friends are still not married.

    Oh, and the ones who are do have kids. We’ve been married for almost 8 years which puts us in a very small minority of long term marriages with no kiddies.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I had to laugh about the description of the “play place” and mini van, probably because I’m in the thick of rearing four children, ranging from 7 1/2, 6, 4, and 15 months old-and those are both familiar territory. When we were married 8 years ago, I didn’t know a soul that was married-let alone had kids-and those that I knew-dropped off the face of my planet because they were still hanging out, traveling, college, dating. No one I knew really wanted to see a squishy baby for more than an hour or so, so something had to change. My hangouts shifted to playgroups-the essential mommy and me playgroup at other stay at home mom homes-the dads worked (gosh, I felt like I was in a time warp for awhile, very 1950ish for awhile, yikes!) , but I slowly became acquainted with a diverse group of women, some who were career savvy, but wanted time to spend with their kids, to those who essentially saw themselves using whatever paycheck they had been making being eaten up by infant childcare-and so the change of who I knew shifted too-and eventually we started hanging out with those who had kids-because who else understood why we couldn’t pay for a night out and a sitter at $15 an hour, and why happy hour meant nap time, not meeting at a bar after work for drinks and food. There are times though, amid the laundry and toys, hopes and worries that come with being charged with the responsibility of taking care of small people, that seeing all the world you’re traveling is beautiful, and a teeny tiny part of me would love to escape on a boat and travel the world. Yet I keep in mind, this too shall pass-in a few years I’ll have all my kids in school, and the countdown to how many years before they’re either college/military/on their own bound will come. The ones who started later off than me, will be in the thick of it like I am now-and at least now, I’m so glad I’m done with the having babies, dealing with all the starting a family issues, glad to be where I’m at. My time to travel will come.

    • Tiffany says:

      It is definitely challenging to do things with people you have nothing in common with… Lately we’ve been around so many 18 year old kids who just want to go out and get drunk and party every night (by that I mean sleep with as many of the opposite sex that they can…) – we so don’t relate!

      It will be strange when we get back home, because so many more of our friends have had kids since we’ve been gone. There must still be common ground for us to meet on though!

    • Greg says:

      Jen,

      You know I noticed that with my friends with kids and I never got it before.

      Scenario as follows –

      Greg – “Hey you wanna hang out tonight?”
      Them – “Can’t, I have kids”
      Greg – “I don’t see how that’s a problem. We hang at your place?”
      Them – *some associated but polite version of HELLS NO*

      and then I’d find out they’re hanging with other friends who have kids!? WTF!? Their kids love me!

      Where you felt ostracized by childless friends, I always felt the exact same thing from friends with kids. It’s very exclusionary, frustrating and hurtful.

      and in the end they often cost themselves a free babysitter ;-)

      It’s probably the bad apples in both bunches that ruin it for all of us. Next time we’re all in town we need to buck the system and hang. Heck, I still need to meet the father of your kids!

  5. Andy says:

    Hey guys,

    Way to go on getting out there and doing it. Don’t worry, it’s not that easy for those of us with littlin’s to find friends either. But the kids make good companions.

    We are actually trying to hybridize the lifestyles and take our brood cruising. Working now on finding a boat to fix up (somewhere between to expensive and too broken) and head off.

    Fair winds to you and best of luck on the adventures.

    • Greg says:

      Thanks Andy,

      It’s totally do-able. We’ve met a couple of world sailing families and while there is no doubt some planning and work involved (a lot of it revolving around schooling and safety) people make it work!

      Where are you looking for a boat?

  6. Greg says:

    Thanks Martine, I like that you read our story ;-)

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