You’re undoubtedly familiar with the stereotype of the “crazy cat lady.” She’s the person who women of a certain age often wake up in terror after dreaming about. It’s the woman they are afraid they will become if they don’t find that someone special by an age they have pre-set for themselves.
There is some variation, but for the most part the crazy cat lady is thought to be a librarian. Fairly drab in appearance. She lives in an apartment by herself and has several cats who keep her company when she is at home-which is most evenings after she finishes her shift at the library. She has few visitors, other than those who come to take a closer peek into the rather “unusual” life of this woman. And it’s thought she lives a rather sad existence.
The crazy cat lady came up in a conversation among a group of friends last week. Several single members of the group quickly professed that they’d just never buy a cat-hence bypassing the ominous moniker. The friends shared stories-one was a fairly new homeowner and had just been told (after about 6 estimates) that she’s have to spend $11,000 to have a drainage and basement problem fixed. Others shared stories of their dramatic love lives and how other people’s behaviors were impacting their lives even though they weren’t directly involved.
Never one to take a standard view, I began to think about the crazy cat lady that generations of women (and some men) have pitied. Was she really so crazy? Or did she really have it together? Did she have one up on us because she knew secrets we had yet figured out?
The crazy cat lady owns an apartment. No $11,000 surprise expenses and no snow shoveling or grass mowing (and who knows…maybe her apartment complex has a really handsome maintenance guy). She’s past the guy drama stage and is able to subsist on the other personal relationships she has developed over the years. People are a little wary of her-well who wouldn’t be-after all, she bucks most of the cultural norms. She doesn’t care if you like her or she’s invited to your party. Her blood pressure is probably spot on as a result.
She has her cats to greet her when she returns home from work each day, eagerly awaiting her and always glad to see her. She’s got some routine in her life. Routine can be good. Worried about keeping up with the latest fashion trends and spending big bucks to look her best? Not the crazy cat lady.
While I’m not a fan of cats and will never own one (chuckle, chuckle), I think the crazy cat lady does offer us some wisdom. Do your own thing. Be who you want to be. And people who tell you renting an apartment is throwing money out the window many just not understand the benefits to renting, among others (and again, they may not have met the maintenance guy).
I will admit to thinking the crazy cat lady is missing out on some of the fun of life. While the drama creates stress, it’s what makes us feel alive. The drama gives us those secret smiles we break out into in the middle of a quiet day for no apparent reason other than our mind is wandering back to some other time and place.
No need to pity the crazy cat lady. She is who she is and as my friend and colleague Lauren Herrin is fond of saying the crazy cat lady has found her “happy place.” Embrace your inner crazy cat lady.