I’m presently sitting in the San Diego airport a mere 30 minutes into my 2.5 hour layover before my final trek back to Austin. It has been and will be a long day of travel especially considering I’ll lose two hours crossing over time zones before finally landing back in Central Time Zone and the great state of Texas. I was home in Sacramento for a long weekend visiting my mom, seeing my best friend who’s due with her first baby in a week (!!!) and for my 10 year high school reunion (!!!). All experiences which exceeded my expectations and boy did they make me feel nostalgic.
I was talking to some people at my reunion about how hard it is to make friends as adults when you’re on the other side of school. Of course you have work friends but over the last couple of years those relationships have been tested by distance and the realities of working from home. Beyond that, what do you have? Once you have kids I imagine you build a community of friends that way but that is not something in my near future so, what do I have? I have my workout community, sure, but sometimes it can feel like such an established environment and clique. Also, if I can be vulnerable with you for a moment I’m very self-aware and know that I might come across as a bit intense and intimidating in a workout environment. Sorry bout it! But back to the point, the opportunities to make friends as adults are limited. At least in my opinion and experience.
Being back where I grew up with the people I quite literally grew up with made me reflect on some of the most cherished relationships and people in my life. I don’t keep in touch with many people from high school but being back together in that environment, eternally bonded by our shared high school experience and now life experience, I reminisced, shared laughter and memories with old friends and new.
My mom and I were having this conversation over the weekend how my generation was really the last to grow up without social media or devices. When I was growing up it was normal for kids to not have cell phones until high school and Instagram didn’t even exist until I was in college. At its inception it was certainly not what it is today and was more so a platform for sharing favorite quotes, what you had for breakfast and memories tainted by the absolute worst excuse of a filter. We were present in our time with each other and our judgments of ourselves and others wasn’t dictated by what the internet said was cool or otherwise.
I’m so grateful to have grown up at the time in which I did and with the people I did as well. I miss a lot of those people and the memories we shared and now I find the present nature of the world proving to be a challenging environment to curate meaningful relationships as an adult. Obviously people live all over the country and the world even which is already an obstacle in and of itself. People are at different points in their lives - getting married, having babies or still out living it up. And because there are so many ways to connect with each other - social media, FaceTime, texting, calling, email, Facebook and on and on - it’s almost as if it’s established a ‘laziness’ within people. They know that ‘so and so’ is just a text away or perhaps they keep up to date with them on Instagram and therefore feel like they know everything going on in that person’s life and forget to check in with them and I mean really check in with them. Or schedule time to see them even, in real life. Imagine!!
The reality is, friendships take a lot more work nowadays. I can’t just wait until soccer practice or English class to see someone. Nor can I spent Monday-Friday sitting in the cafeteria spending the lunch hour catching up with my friends. I miss the carefree nature of those days, those memories forged with people whom I shared so much with through adolescence. Now, in adulthood I find myself craving those relationships once again but struggling to cultivate them. How do you make friends as an adult?? Friends whom you share common interests with, friends who are there for you in good times and bad, friends who reciprocate the effort you put into the friendship. Friends who you laugh and cry with, friends who will have your back no matter what. I know they’re out there, it’s just a matter of finding them…