I use the word nothing, a lot. Except, ever since I was a little kid, "nothing" usually means "something".
Like when I was a toddler and had stolen some candy at the grocery store - except I don't think I was really trying to steal so much as help myself to the "All you can eat extravaganza!" available to me. My mom asked me what I had in my hands and I said, "Nuffing." Well, my mom knew this wasn't true and she made me tell the checkout lady what I had. I told her, and she thought I was so cute; I got to keep my spoils.
Growing up, I used "nothing" almost every single day:
"What happened at school today?"
"Nothing? All day, nothing happened?"
Truth be told, tons had happened. I'd undoubtedly had lots of little something’s happen through out my day. Read: my high school years were filled with drama and angst over BOYS and friends (but mostly BOYS). There was always a ton going on that I never wanted to talk about because no one could possibly understand the plight I was going through day after day. Oh, pitiful, teenaged Keely.
Fast-forward to me at age 31 and I still use "nothing" all the time with our friends and family:
"So, what have you (guys) been up to?
"Nothing." or "Nothing much."
It's not that I'm hiding a big secret or trying to avoid conversation so I can go brood in my bedroom. Sometimes I feel like the things that go on in my everyday life aren't interesting enough to share in conversation or on this blog. Like, if something major - being proposed to, planning a wedding, vacations, trying to conceive, rehearsing for a play, being pregnant, moving to a new house, etc - isn't going on that I'll just bore friends, family and blog readers to death with the mundane.
Not that my life is mundane. It's not. As far as I'm concerned, a ton is happening in my life. But if we run into friends at a restaurant, do they really want to hear all of it? I can see it all now:
"So, what's been going on with you guys?"
"Well! Let me tell you! I've been trying to figure out how to balance being a wife, mother and human being. I'm still learning how to be a SAHM (which I love) and take care of my own needs. Just recently I mastered taking a shower every single day (before 10am) and I'm actually getting dressed in things besides sweats! I even find time to do my hair and makeup occasionally! I've been obsessively counting points for Weight Watchers and simultaneously trying to make more of an effort in the kitchen. The first week I lost 10 pounds, but this last weigh in all I'd lost was inches (but no gain). I have to keep reminding myself that this is a marathon not a race, and that's really hard for me because I've always struggled with my appearance. We just had an exercise bike delivered this afternoon and I'm really excited to get it built. I plan to exercise at least every other day and I'm looking forward to being a healthier person. I've decided I'm not doing theatre any more, so I'm trying to find other creative outlets (like my photography and blogging) to fill that void. Oh, you didn't know I have a blog? Yes, I've actually been blogging for almost five years and decided at the beginning of 2008 that I was going to blog every day for the next year. So far I haven't missed a day. Daniel and I don't get out as much as we did before Zoe was born, but we've been watching a ton of movies on Netflix and I've discovered how much I like reading again. I feel like I've really grown as a person in the past couple years and I'm enjoying that immensely."
Er. Yeah. Sometimes it's just easier to say "nothing". Especially when we're talking to people who are at different times in their lives. We worry we'll just bore them with what it's like to get to know our little girls personality, or how we're getting used to our new life as parents. We're on a different path than so many of our friends. Not to say that our path isn't exciting too, it is. It's just a different kind of exciting. The catch is, by trying NOT to bore people I think we come across as being... boring. Like we're just a happy couple with a baby with no outside interests. Meh. Nothing sucks.
* There's nothing I hate more than nothing. Nothing keeps me up at night. I toss and turn over nothing. Nothing could cause a great big fight. - Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians