Old friends and new lives

Friendships change so drastically over the course of a few years…or life events taken ahead of the average person. These days I am almost always confused when I talk with old friends who don’t have kids or aren’t married yet.

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(Me, my friend Beth (and my sis’s sis-in-law!), and a few of my sisters at my brother-in-law’s graduation 4 years ago)

In a choose your own adventure book (remember those?) the chapter they’re on is the one I’ve skipped for now.

Our priorities are so different.

I’m confused about how to balance my talk of my kiddo and whatever other mundane topic with something else more relatable. He is my everyday companion. I would talk about him almost non-stop to most. But when I’m with old friends it’s hard to connect. I wonder about the content of my conversation.

They are deeply immersed in the new of the job market, moving away, hunting down opportunity, and juggling adult schedules as necessary.

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(College friends Yustina, Rachael (my christian roomie I was blessed with our first two years) and Alyssa )

I miss them and sometimes miss the option to have that life of seeming freedom.

But I am at home everyday.
All day.
With my cute little boy and sometimes my husband.

My world revolves around them.

My grownup job is not one with a paycheck, a boss and a complicated application process.
I don’t have strict hours; I just have all hours.

I’m mostly free to do as I like as long as the goose (another nickname) approves and can accompany more often than not.

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(My youngest brother, mom, youngest sister, Israel, Fran and
Rachael one spring weekend freshman year)

Even then, my job is still present and I’ll be the one hopping up and down, containing, cajoling, and entertaining, while trying not to interrupt whatever proceedings or conversations are in progress.

I would love to see my friends more often, so as to avoid that awkward silence and the asking of the same questions again and again each visit because we’re just busy and distracted.

But getting together is hard, too. I don’t have evenings free like the mainstream job-holder. Naptime is generally protected (i.e. Do NOT schedule anything mommy needs either a nap or time to recharge). My evenings are spent with my hard-working husband as often as possible. He works so much, I want to be around for the few hours when he’s not working. Which is in the evenings. Sometimes.

And my lack of energy is hard to explain. “You just stay at home all day, how are you so busy/tired?” Of course pregnancy is an understood excuse, luckily, but it’s not exactly something you can talk about all the time to the uninitiated.

I don’t want to be the friend who is constantly talking about their child unasked.

I want to listen and to be able to relate to their new and grown-up lives, but I’m caught by the fact that my grown up job is that of mother and wife and I’ve had no other post college graduation employment or current plans become employed.

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(Hiking in the Andes with some friends (Kate and Sarah). All these friends really are spread everywhere now.)

Our main ‘thing’ in common, college, is over and we’re all moving on. Trying to connect n the disconnect that is the normal modern life.

It is hard to relate my life to theirs.

It is a 24/7 gig with more joy than you can imagine,

It is hard to call it a job. Some don’t.

But my sanity rests in the fact that I am doing an important thing and it is my primary occupation.
My friends have time (and coinciding schedules not built around nap or bedtime) to meet up, to play, to go out in the evenings and do fun things together on a whim if they want. i have different freedoms but in the evenings I need to have a little more structure and things planned out.

It’s just how it goes.

I would love to be able to connect easily again, but it seems things got awkward and hard somewhere along the way.

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(Graduation 2012.)

They feel the silence too, I know. Maybe it’s a bit less obvious for them though because of new challenges and new people, but my solitary life feels it.

How do you grow the friendsships when lives are left in different chapters and paths don’t cross spontaneously anymore?

It’s odd, you know.

It’s a practical normal life, but where have all my friends gone?

I’m missing that group of people I used to have where I’d feel rejuvenated, loved, and appreciated after a fun afternoon hanging out filled with coffee, laughter, stories and the barest disguise of homework.

—–

How have you all managed the friendship transition into motherhood or adult jobs and adult life in general? How do stay connected? Have you built a new circle or filled in the gaps of the old yet?

12 thoughts on “Old friends and new lives

  1. It’s weird; this is an area I am struggling with too, and was going to write about a few weeks ago. Not just with currently single/non-mothering friends, but also with my married and mothering friends. Our paths seems to be heading down really different paths from the lifestyle choices we make which leaves not a lot to talk about as we are gulfs apart. I am finding for me the harder I try to hold on, the more sorrow and sadness I heap upon myself as I lament for days gone by, and am learning to allow God to have his way. Sometimes, a step back or away is ok. I am learning to trust that He will bring new friends my way who are on the same wavelength and at a similar point in their life. The waiting ground in between is hard though when you feel lonely and just want a deep meaningful friendship. :)

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    1. That is so true that this is another area to just surrender to God. We will pray for good friends to come along and not bemoan the old ones. I am hoping that if I’m a bit more proactive with my old friends we can stay connected a little better. Though I’m not sure it will be very rewarding or if something meaningful will come of it. I just need community.

      Hugs to you, dear girl! (Are you a hugger?) I appreciate our shared life struggles. It is encouraging to share stories and hope and faith.

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  2. As a SAHM for the past 14 years, I remember those beginning days of motherhood well (my youngest just turned 7 in June)
    But, I also remember being the girl with no little one to talk about while all my friends were having babies -7 years of infertility will do that to a person.
    One of the best things you can do now is find a group to get plugged into.
    (MOPS is a great place to start)
    The others will catch up to where you are and in time it all comes out in the wash.
    But don’t just sit at home waiting for that to happen. Grow your circle. You, hubby and baby will be better off for it.

    (Sorry for sounding like Miss Bossy pants!)

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  3. Aw, Erika, I know what you mean. I believe that with different stages in life, you sometimes have different friends. Although most of my friends at the moment are pretty much in the same phase I’m in, that is a result of this. Some friends just kind of drifted away, and new friends came when I got involved at H’s preschool.
    I also became a LLL leader (well, of the Dutch sister of LLL) and I met some new people who think like I do.
    I think this is harder for you because you’re a young mom and that is not what most recent college grads do.but it’s your life. So my advice is, remain friendly with the girls (in 5 years they’ll be callingthe only experienced mom their age for advice-you) but try to find somsomeone who is on the same timeline you are.

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    1. Thanks for sharing what you went through and that is very good advice! :) I hadn’t thought of it quite that way before. Good motivation to stay connected. It is encouraging. Hopefully I can find some more people I click with soon.

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  4. It is hard when we all continue on different paths with different circles around us in different parts of the country or world. :(
    I can’t speak for your other friends, but I honestly would love to talk with you about Ranger and Israel and the upcoming one, and your whole life as a mom, and I would not get tired of it. :) I read your blogs fairly often to learn more about Ranger or see pictures of him, or see what’s going on with your own personal goals.
    And also I know (not by experience, unless you count nannying, which you shouldn’t) that being a mother and a wife is very, very hard work, and unlike normal “jobs” (that probably didn’t need quotations marks), you don’t ever leave work. You are always the hardworking mother and wife, which makes you a teacher and cook, a maid and a nurse, and so many other roles.

    And you wives and mothers who are our friends should know a secret– we single gals want to get married and have kids and be just like you! Of course I can’t speak for every young lady out there, but I know that as I’m working in my career, I’m actually just waiting and practicing to be a good wife and mother and servant of Christ.
    So, we won’t get tired of hearing about your life, because it helps us get the tips and encouragement we need.

    Now, if you could just get all your friends to stay in Boise, then you’d be getting somewhere! ;)

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    1. Ahhh yay! Thanks for your words. :) maybe we can email and stay connected a bit better…i’ve heard rumors about your life that need some ‘splaining’. :)
      Thanks so much for acknowledging my job is tough…i always feel like a weenie for complaining. Ha.

      And yes, I do know that most of our friends just want to be married and have kids… Which for some odd reason makes me hesitant to talk about things in my life with them. I guess it’s because ?i don’t want them to feel dissatisfaction with their life because I’m always flaunting mine…and also because I don’t want to seem like I don’t know how lucky I am to get what I wanted right off the bat while they’re still in the waiting place..it seems unfeeling and even ungrateful at times. It’s a strange balance that makes it harder to connect on an important level.
      Not to mention that answering the question of ‘how are you?’ anyway besides ‘good, fine or great’ is somewhat socially unacceptable. It’s hard to break past that point and to find people that truly care.

      I had never thought of it the way you put it before. Though I’m sure I would be doing the same if I were still waiting. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

      Anyways. Enough of my rambling. Perhaps I’ll email you soon. :)

      And yes, come on, people, by all means keep your lives fixed right next to mine!

      Miss you, friend!

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  5. There’s a blink 182 song with the chorus Nobody Loves You When You’re 23 – I remember singing it in my head all year – it’s a rough time and tends to feel very lonely, no matter what your occupation/calling. . .I did a lot of disgruntled songwriting during that period!

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    1. Ah, good to know. Everyone tells you about being a teenager…no one mentions this transition. Thanks for saying that :) i’ll just have to wait out/attack the year as best I can. And maybe I can look back and compare later and see what God was doing at this point in my life.

      I might have to look up that song too, though it sounds very emo…lol :D

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