Depending on how closely you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that one of the intentions I set for 2015 (blogging) was apparently set with little or no momentum behind it. While my yogi life is in full swing, and I’m very proud of that fact, I do wish I was putting the same amount of effort into my writing. Time is not the issue as I have such a flexible work schedule most days that I can certainly squeeze in blocks here and there. I just don’t. The truth is, I spend more time keeping up with the Kardashians on Instagram than I do keeping up with my blog (don’t be alarmed, I counteract the Kardashian sisters and “Lord” Scott Disick with a good amount of the Deepak Chopras and Elizabeth Gilberts of the world as well). What I am is not strapped for time, but strapped for inspiration. I haven’t yet figured out if I want a blog that is more like a diary of my life (and therefore only appealing to my nearest and dearest, if even them), a commentary on society or a little bit of both. So in recent days I’ve asked a few of my readers for ideas on what they might like my thoughts on. Frankly, it would seem that most of them are equally uninspired these days. My friend (and also one of my most loyal subscribers), Kasia, on the other hand, had two worthy topics at her disposal, one of which I will focus on today – the evolution of friendships.
Since despite my best attempts I still don’t have a shred of comprehension around male friendships (and quite honestly question their authenticity altogether), consider my expertise here specific to the female-on-female variety. Kasia asked if I’d given much thought to the way our relationships with our friends change over time and also how the way we invite new friendships into our lives changes as we age. This is a topic I have, in fact, given an almost unhealthy amount of thought to in recent years and it’s shocking that I haven’t already ruminated on the subject. I suppose it’s because with my family life at the center of nearly everything I do nowadays, I often have those moments where I go “how the hell did I get here?” and along with those moments comes the flood of memories from a time when my friendships were at the center of everything I did. If you spent the majority of your 20’s as a singleton and put the brakes on marriage and kids like I did, then transitioning into a role (see: wife/mother/professional) where you almost have to be selective with your friendships can be quite a bit more painful than if, say, you got married and started a family right out of college. Every year at Christmas card time I review my address list with sadness and a little bit of disgust, actually. These people were at my wedding for crying out loud, and they haven’t called, texted, emailed or so much as liked one of my fucking Instagram pictures in three years!! Yes, I have these thoughts, but then I quickly realize that I haven’t exactly kept up with any of them either, although I would argue that I am better at the random acts of friendship than most. I never, ever wish a good friend happy birthday through Facebook (a call, or at the very least a warm and personal text), even if that’s how I found out it was their birthday in the first place. I love surprising friends I haven’t talked to in months (or years) with an unexpected card or email. And I write some of the best damn thank you cards you’ve ever read. Because I consider myself a thoughtful friend, and with limited time and energy to spend on these relationships, I realize that thoughtfulness is the key to a lasting friendship in adulthood. And let’s be clear, you’re not an adult until you’re at least 30 (men, sit back down until you’re checking the 40+ box). It doesn’t take getting married and having kids to understand the idea of quality over quantity when it comes to friendships either. What it does take is growing into the person you are and although we are ever-evolving human beings, I feel like we have most of the kinks worked out by a certain point and we just know who we are.
Oftentimes who we are is not who we were 20, 10 or even 2 years ago, so why hold ourselves hostage to friendships that no longer apply to the current version of ourselves? As I’ve assessed my current and past friendships I know I’ve made mistakes – mistakes in hurting people who cared for me and mistakes in letting people I cared for hurt me repeatedly without taking action. On the other hand, I am also mastering the art of both trimming the fat and then letting go. There is absolutely no place for frenemies or for “friends” who continue to disrespect or devalue us. There is also no shame in purging people from our lives who continue to receive whilst not giving. I do, however, still hold a great deal of affection for the friend who can disappear for a few years and then come back with a vengeance as if not a single day had passed. And while I once measured the quality of my friendships in years, and once vowed not to make any more “real” friends once we left Chicago, I now understand the importance of bringing not just new people into our lives, but new people of all ages and backgrounds. I have made some wonderful friends here in Colorado and most of them were completely unexpected. I even made better friends with people in Chicago (i.e. Kasia) once I had left. I also lost a few, and that’s okay. I’ve even gained and lost one in the three short years I’ve been here in Colorado. Again, trim the fat and let go. I understand that I may have overestimated my value to some of my once-friends too and that is perfectly okay. I am not for everyone and everyone is not for me. All relationships evolve over time just as we each do individually and I think the difference for me in how I approach my relationships now compared to how I did in my younger years is by choice. I’m not going to be friends with someone just because they are married to one of my husband’s friends or because I sit next to them at work, but because I genuinely enjoy their conversation and their company. I also won’t get too bent out of shape if one of those gals doesn’t like all of my Instagram pictures. As with everything, life’s just too damn short.