Monday, August 6, 2007
Friendship is an Art Form I have Yet to Master
Is it just me or was making friends and talking to people easier when you were a kid? I can remember way back when (or "back in the day" as it's called now), every day that wasn't a school day and the sun was shining, all the kids in the neighborhood would get together and just play and talk and laugh and fight and then laugh and talk and play and fight some more. Then, as we get older, we weren't as care free as we were before. The arguments got bigger, the playing got smaller and the laughter maybe just a little bit more refined (there were people out there to impress, after all). And then life takes you to other places, the talks get further and further apart, your interests change maybe and before you know it, you and your dear, dear friend are barely exchanging Christmas cards every year. I look back on all the friends I've had in the past and wonder how could I have let them go? There's my friend, Penny, whom I've only recently been in contact with again. We knew each other in junior high school, for Pete's sake. We were lunch time buddies. I figure I owe her about $6,794.75 in borrowed quarters from time spent at the Kerr Jr. High snack bar. I haven't talked to her in over 2 decades when I found her mom's name somewhere on the Internet and contacted her and she put me in touch with Penny (thank you Miss Charlotte!). How did I let that friendship go in the first place? And then there's my friend, Trish, who is also a distantly related cousin. I don't think I've seen her since 1987, the year my grandma passed away. Her life always seemed so perfect. Until tragedy struck. Her little 11 month old daughter was killed that year by a drunk driver. So, so, so sad. I spoke with her a few months after it had happened (I didn't know of it, until then). I will forever feel like I let her down because I just couldn't find the right words to say. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have just said "I'm sorry and I love you". Over and over and over again. But I felt too awkward and too inadequate and so I ended up just losing contact with her. Shameful, isn't it? Then there's my friend, Bobbie, from Wisconsin. We met in Plattsburgh, New York where our husbands were stationed (this was during my previous marriage). Bobbie was hilarious. She could really make me laugh. So why did I lose touch with her, too? What is it with me? Is it only with me or does this happen to other people, too? I'm 43 years old. Even my kids joke that I have one friend and one friend only and that's Susan. We (Susan and I mainly) laugh about it and say that having friends can be just too high maintenance. But I got to say...there are days that I'm so lonesome I could just...well, cry. I wish I could be in person as I am in Blogland. In Blogland, I'm upbeat with others, I'm straight forward with my ills and concerns and I'm eager to hear how others are doing. In real life, I feel awkward. Yes, that's the word. Awkward. I'm a housewife. I'm boring. I don't measure up to those around me. I don't have anything to offer except an opinion and how learned of an opinion could it be if I never get outside of my own little world? So I end up staying closed off. I tell my children that friendships are important, but I don't live by example with that one. I've...squandered...a great many friendships all because of reasons that don't seem to matter so much anymore. I often hear about people who are friends with people they knew back in 2nd grade. How do you do that? Can you teach me? Is it a gift you have and I don't? Or are you just nicer people? And why am I feeling so darn "retrospective" (or is is "introspective") today? Probably from the bad night last night, huh? Well, I'll be darned...it's that wicked menopause thing again, probably. Waking me up with night sweats and making me all blah today. Got to work on these mood swings. Really. Or maybe I should just work on my people skills. Or maybe I should not post on my blog unless I've had at least a good 7 hours of sleep. Or maybe I should just....stop while I'm ahead. This is getting too deep for even me to swim my way out of.