There are a few things about adulthood that I don't like. Some things on that list include some things you probably don't like either: wrinkle cream, cellulite, taxes, housework, antacids, etc. Ranking pretty high up there is the fact that making friends just isn't what it used to be. In a word, it's kind of HARD.
In the old days (as in, my youth), making friends included sleepovers, passing notes in class, dishing about the eighth grade boys (read: older men) we liked and sharing clothes. Fast forward ten years and making friends looked pretty much the same, only transportation was easier and fashion had improved. Essentially, friendship was simple. You hung out, doing somewhat unmemorable things for hours upon hours and before you knew it, you were best friends who finished each other's sentences and shared each other's closets.
Fast forward ten more years and marriage, husbands, babies, bills, etc. have filled up every square inch of your life so that there isn't much room for much else. You meet potential friends at church or at the park, but because there isn't time for essential friend-building experiences like random, late night Wal Mart runs followed by scattered, smothered and covered at Waffle House until 2 am or anything remotely close to the loads of empty time you used to be able to spend getting to know someone inside out, now it seems to require months and more likely years to really get to know someone and to be known by them at the level you hope for.
I've been thinking about this lately because it seems that so many women I talk to have similar feelings. Creating friendships that reach the depth that came so naturally before there were so many distractions can feel almost impossible now. Maybe it's not this way for men, but I find that it's almost always the case for the women I know.
Recently, I got to see two of my best friends together for the first time in over a year. I have to admit that it was bittersweet. It was so good to see friends who have known me long before Matt was ever in the picture and long before I was a thirty-something stay-at-home mom. I'd forgotten how affirming it is to spend time with friends who are so incredibly familiar and who know things about me that even I have forgotten.
But, driving away from that visit, I couldn't help but feel some sadness knowing that sort of reunion will probably be a rare occurrence. I also found myself wondering why it's so hard to forge friendships as dear as those anymore. I know it has so much to do with the time (or lack thereof) factor, and despite the desire and the need for deep friendships, it's just stinkin' hard to create those relationships in this present stage of life.
I'll admit to not being sure what the solution is here. I doubt it's more social media and it probably isn't going to be something easy like potluck dinners. But, there's got to be some way to enable friendships with the depth and the familiarity that we were created to experience with each other. Currently, I'm thinking a commune is the answer, but there's probably something that requires less moving and isn't so cult-ish.
Until I figure this out, I'm sure as heck glad I've got some girlfriends around the country who've known me long enough to expect my voicemail box to always be full, my hugs to possibly break their ribs, and my cookies to most likely contain nutmeg.
Here's to you, old friends. I wish you lived next door.
Side Note: If case you were wondering, here's what Sam's been doing lately...