Monday, November 18, 2013

41 Going on 14.

My entire life I have been blessed and lucky to have good, close friends.  I still have a box full of notes, creatively folded pieces of paper that were secretively passed back and forth in long, lingering class periods with the excitement of knowing that we could be caught at any moment.  I usually come across this box and read these poorly written notes every five years or so.  It always brings some measure of ennui but more so the older I get. I always had intimate girl friends in High School to pass notes with, but when I graduated my best friends were a group of guys.  Once I began cycling and rock climbing it was a natural progression.  I never had a close relationship with my father and I was nursing a hefty heartache at the time so I really needed male acceptance.  I maintained those male friendships until I got married and Brett laid down the law.  I always loved and appreciated all of my friends but I also took them for granted.  It was just something that came easy to me, to love and appreciate people and to have time to be with them.  Most of these friends from my youth I am in touch with via the Internet now.  Not all of them live by me, not all of them have kids and spouses.  Mostly we live radically different lifestyles and maybe have different religious beliefs, especially since I've come back to church in the last 9 years.  I feel like that coupled with distance has put a big, fat wedge between us although I really, really wish it didn't.  When I got married, I inherited a big group of amazing new friends but they are all Brett's, really, and that is the kind of spot I find myself in now.  I have been blindsided by the fact that in my 40s the one thing that is radically different from my 20s and even my 30s, is the ability to make and keep close friends.

I get it, I do.  We are all busy.  No, we are all super busy.  We all have families.  We all have blogs.  We all do and say stupid things on Facebook.  Especially me.  Which makes me wonder if maybe people who would like to be friends with me don't think we'd connect because of where I stand on certain issues, or because of certain things I've written.  Maybe they assume I'm always working and it's true, I have periods when I work so much that I don't see my own family sometimes for weeks.  (With the except of Sunday.)  But not always, I do have some time off sometimes.  And I can take a phone call or a text.  But as it stands now, when I do end up getting together with friends it's always under planned and somewhat rigid circumstances.  Dinner parties, Birthday lunches, Bad Movie Nights. And I love all of these things.  I love them.  But I miss having people just stop by.  I miss hanging out and laughing on the phone and I miss talking about my every day experience with someone.  I miss light gossiping.  Hell, I miss heavy gossiping.  And I miss being close with people.  Really being close.  Knowing what people are afraid of, who they are intimidated by, who they think is cute, what they want to do when they grow up. I guess there just isn't anything to talk about anymore except politics and sex and no one wants to be engaged in those kinds of incendiary convos.

I also think to some measure, at my age, it can be hard to connect because you've been burned by people before.  I've been burned by people. They've let me down and broken my heart.  They haven't shown up for me or they've shown up for me begrudgingly which makes me feel bad, like I was putting them out. Sometimes people only want to use me for favors. Which is fine, but sometimes they use me but don't reciprocate, like ever, and so I worry that maybe people feel that same way about me.  Maybe they think I don't reciprocate enough. Sometimes I feel like the people that I would like to hang out with wouldn't like me back and sometimes I feel like the people who would want to hang out with me would drive me crazy.  It's like an 'Attack of the Fourteens' all over again.  That's a term a dear childhood friend coined back in college before she became a witch and moved out of state.  (See what I mean?) So basically for a decade I've felt like my close friends were the people that I work with, and after hanging out for 18 hour days, none of us really want to see one another after work.  Most of us just enjoy a really good working relationship and that's all.

If you have a dear, close friend, if you have someone to talk to that you can be completely open with that doesn't judge you and only laughs at your faults, if you have a friend that calls you just because they were thinking about you or pops by your house or takes your kids when you want to just watch Dr Phil for an hour, you're a lucky person.  I know people like that but we only connect anymore on Instagram when I like the pics of their urban farming measures and they like the pics of my pugs. By the way, thanks though, for liking my pug pics.  And P.S. if you can't tell, what I'm trying to do is pass you a note that reads something like, "I'm tired of liking you from afar.  Be friends IRL? Check yes or no." 


Emily said...

Is it okay for me to check "yes" even though we've only ever met, like, once during a shoot and said hello a few times in passing? I love reading your blog, virtually getting to know you better. And every time I read something new, it only makes me you like (and admire) you more. I'm looking forward to becoming better friends even if it's only online for now. (We should fix that sometime soon...)

Melanie said...

Yes. Also, THIS: "Sometimes I feel like the people that I would like to hang out with wouldn't like me back and sometimes I feel like the people who would want to hang out with me would drive me crazy"

Having friends as a grown up is HARD. But I'm glad to know it's not just hard for me.

Cody Sanders said...

Lets go eat some Tom Yum and have a wicked gossip fest!! I miss having close friends too!

Amelia Merritt said...

Thanks guys, I really must point out that one person I work with I KNOW is my dear friend and has shown up for me many times and that's my friend Iffer and I would be dead wrong to imply she just views me as a person she works with. And Cody, it's a deal!