Making new friends as an adult is both easy and hard. In some ways, it's easier than when I was younger because I'm much more settled into myself, and therefore less threatened by people who are different from me. I'm more willing to seek frienships with people who I might not "naturally" gravitate towards. As 15 years of friendship with Eden has tought me, a friend can be a near opposite and a kindred spirit at the same time.
But of course, grownups (including me) are so damn busy! It's hard enough to make time for excercise, sleep and family amidst our busy work lives, and meaningful (or even just fun) time with friends often gets pushed to the back burner. Dave and I, who are both very social, friend-oriented people, have often found ourselves being the initiators of social gatherings and connections, even though people genuinely seem to like us. And yet, we both recognize that for all the initiave we do take, there are countless unreturned calls, unaswered letters, friendships un-tended to. It's been a tricky tension for us both to navigate as many of our dearest friends have not lived geographically close to us, so we try to juggle long-term, long distance friendships along side local, spontaneous friendships. As we both struggle with time management and "executive function" (darn ADHD!) we sometimes have felt unable to cultivate ANY frienship well.
**A few shots from the summer that represent friendship to me.
Don't be offended if you don't see yourself here please! I'm not making any big statements about the quality of our relationship! :)
In the most recent phase of our life, Dave and I were juggling his work schedule (often 60 hours a week), my near-full time job, Clara's school and childcare schedule, a working farm, involvement in our church... Let's just say that we haven't been the best at maintaining friendships. When we packed up and moved down to North Carolina, we were so sad to leave our friends and family behind, and to be honest, I thought that I wouldn't even really seek friendship down here. Part of me said, we already have all these dear friends that have always been long distance, and now all of our NH friends and family will be "long distance" as well. How can I possibliy keep up all those relationships, and make new friends in a new place?
And yet, of COURSE we need friends "on the ground"! One of the hardest things about moving has been loneliness, and so making new friends becomes an imperative. We already have been blessed by reciving such a warm welcome from our friends at Rutba House and Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, and it is such a relief to have these potential friendships all around us. And so I venture out with my little, slightly battered heart on my sleeve, looking into the faces of all these kind and interesting people, and wondering, "Will you be my friend?" Unfortunately, people don't come with labels that say helpful things like "I'm kind of lonely and would love a friend," or "I'm really overwhelmed with the relationships that I already have, and I don't think I can keep up any more friendships right now!"
Anyway, this blog post is getting very long and rambly... I guess I'm just curious how you all (if I have any readers left) navigate our basic human need for relationships with busy schedules and competing committments. For those of you with a partner, is he/she your "best friend" or do you still rely on close same-sex friendships?
All these rambly thoughts about friendship were ignighted by my plan to share these pictures with you of four recent visits we've had with very old and dear friends down here in Durham. While Dave and I are both enjoying the richness that comes with new friendships, there really is nothing so sweet as an old friend, and I am gratefull that these folks made the journey to see us and cheer us up as we continue to find our footing in our new life. Sarah & Stu, Tante Heather, Tante Eden, and Kelcey, Lili and Seo, thank you so much for coming to visit us! We love you, and had so much fun showing you around Durham!
**One final note, I didn't include any pictures of my sister and the rest of our NH family, who are obviously friends as well, but that's a whole 'nother blog post! Miss you all! xoxo