I have been ruminating on much. I often do. Then I think, “I’ll write that for the blog!” yet I don’t. Writing for a blog is great. It’s cathartic and all that. Yet it too can become a chore. Well, it can when you think that you have to write about a specific subject. In my case of course, everyone expects me to write about Parkinson’s. I do write about it, but my head is full of so much more. Whether it’s interesting or not, I suppose is down to many things. In any case, I have been thinking of late that I have been excessively neglectful of my Parky audience, my non Parky audience just my audience in general. So this is kind of my reboot. I’m going to write about what I want. I always have, but it’s been very focussed on THAT condition. This is just – well. It’s just me.
This week I have been pondering the strangeness of friendships in adulthood. They’re intensely tricky things, especially if you’ve moved away from your home base and your safety net of family and childhood friends. If you’re a parent, you’ll know the friendships that can blossom and grown in ante-natal groups, at the school gate and over ‘play dates’ with your little ones.
I moved away from my hometown 300 miles away to the seaside. Then I moved back. Then I emigrated. Three times. I kept leaving my friends behind. They’re still there, but abandoned. Were it not for social media and the (very rare) Christmas card we’d have lost touch a long time ago. Can they still be called my close friends when they’re on the other side of the world? Is commenting on social media contact and friendship? Does a video call count? I’m not sure.
I made new friends here in New Zealand. I like them, they’re really great people. Yet we lack history. When you get to my age (cough cough) depth of friendship often goes hand in hand with length of time. How can I possibly create deep and meaningful relationships with people who already have their ‘full quota’ of good friends? We all know how difficult enough it is to keep up with our families once we have children of our own. Finding time for a newbie? Well, it’s not that people are unkind, they just don’t have the room in their lives.
Then there’s the self-doubt. Is it me? Am I too weird? Too strange? Too loud? Too… me? I unpick my relationships with people, trying to discover what it is that I’m doing right, or doing wrong.
It seems that leaving my husband was not a great move for maintaining friendships. Regardless of the many people that assured me “we’re not taking a side” it’s clear they did. Strange, considering my ex-husband and I appear to get on better than ever. We speak at least three to four times a week. It’s about the children, sure, but we ask each other if we’re OK, and I’m sure whilst we complain about the other too, there’s genuine warmth and care for the other’s wellbeing. (Just not enough to actually be a couple, hey?! Lol) We spend Christmas and birthdays together, we’ve welcomed each other’s new partners warmly, and we’re happier than we’ve been in years.
Yet some people fell by the wayside. I guess I’m writing this partly out of self-pity, I’ll admit it, but also because I wonder, honestly, if more people feel this way but say nothing? Men in particular are odd. What is it about the male psyche., those men that claim to not be able to make / maintain friendships? The men I have been involved with don’t seem to need to ‘catch up’ as often as we women, or get upset and write entire blog posts about the confusing state of their friend groups.
I am confused. I’m approaching my mid-century. I watch my new friends go to parties, weekends away and all kinds of other things. I stand on the side-lines and just watch. People constantly tell me how much fun I am, how interesting, strong, blah, blah, blah. Yet I sit and wonder who would really miss me if I moved away? I re-read this and feel like it’s a horrible pity-party. Maybe it is. But I can’t be the only person that looks confident on the outside and on the inside keeps panicking I’m doing something wrong.
I read once that you should be able to count your good friends on the fingers of one hand. That at least is true. I do have three (perhaps four) people I can rely on. I think. I was very sad to recently realise one person I thought was a very close friend is no longer. I guess that’s what prompted this post. I had a conversation with someone yesterday that made me realise that this person really was no longer my friend. That hurt. A lot. It got me thinking about just how hard it is to create long lasting friends when you’ve only been around a few years. How can I compete?
Why should I compete? I am good enough. I have some very good friends. I should be a better mate in return and pick up the phone more. There it is. I shouldn’t complain about being cast adrift when I’m not always good at being as attentive as I should be at the friendships I do have.
I’m going to call a friend. I feel better already.
Until next time. Kitty.