This is a spin off post from my previous post. I know that one sounded pretty chipper, so you might be surprised to read what you're about to read. This post might seem a bit strange, but really, I'm not thinking too negatively here, just being more...realistic?
I hate to be a quitter, but I don't think it's possible for me to meet new lady friends, or even couple friends for the two of us. I've decided that I'm going to not focus on this so much. I'm going to focus on what makes me happy--even if most of those things are solo activities--instead of being sad that I don't have a best girlfriend to get coffee with. I'm entering the stage of life where many of my friends have young children, but not all do. Many friends (both those with and without kids) have simply faded away. Some just live too far away to try and keep things going, which is ironic, given that we have so many ways to keep in contact. I might have touched on this before, but it's like those who have drifted away found new friends and don't have a need for the old ones. Maybe it's just life has changed and there isn't so much in common anymore? I don't know.
In a way, it's like being single again, when everyone else is dating or married. Through Facebook, I know that people who might have not hung out since high school are now getting together because they both have children near the same age. Facebook is a blessing and a curse. You can find out what some girl you had classes with in college ate for breakfast, but you'd never get together with her if she was in town on business. So strange.
I'm going to post a run down on my friends as it helps me to talk it out, to put things into perspective. Maybe I'm not seeing something that I should be seeing. I love all of my friends, in spite of our differences, even though in my comments to come, it might seem like I'm picking on them or something...
High School: I only talk to (as in phone calls, regular emails, visits) 2 people from high school. One lives about 3 hours away, and is my oldest friend (and my maid of honor). I'll be her bridesmaid in April. But, our keeping in touch is sporadic, and the distance is definitely a factor. The other friend lives nearby but has an infant and is pregnant with #2! :) She will be turning into a SAHM come summer, before baby #2 arrives. In my very limited experience with my ONE other SAHM friend, we'll drift apart. Even if you don't have kids, you still have work gripes, boss issues, etc. to chat about. What do you have when one stays home with two little ones and one works at a desk all day?
College: We were a tight circle of 6 (me included), but I now only talk to 3. The other two--one of them has vanished pretty much. I mean, she's alive, but she only turns up when someone's getting married, and in the case of the last time I saw her, it was her being the bride. The other one...I don't know what to say about her.
So of the 3 who are left: One lives ~30 mins from me, which is great, but she is infrequent about keeping in touch. It's almost like she forgets about contacting people? We always have a fun time together and we're similar, personality-wise, but I can't put my finger on it. She's not married, still lives with her parents, is only on year 2 of her career, so we're living completely different lives, especially with work. I'm years beyond her with having worked since graduating college. Another lives across the country and is a WOHM. We probably communicate the most (via FB) but it's nothing huge, since distance factors in a lot. Not to mention, she had a baby around Thanksgiving so has been on maternity leave and enjoying her new son (which she should be doing!) and older daughter. The last one was my roommate for 3 years and my best friend while we were in school. While she got her masters and worked for a bit after college, she got married soon after that, had a baby within that first year, stopped working and is able to be a SAHM to her now-two kids. She lives about 3 hours away also, and again, that makes it so hard.
Post-college: I have made one friend, besides Turtle :) I met her while working at my first post-college job, but we actually connected on a message board and realized that we had a lot in common...including employer! (it was a large one--we worked blocks away from each other) We're still friends (she was in my wedding) but she also has a lot of "hometown" friends, the people whom she's known since the teen years, and since they live close by, it's easier for them to get together. She's single and searching, and we do have a lot of crafty things in common, but she has more of a "carefree" lifestyle right now because she lives with her sister who doesn't care about what's for dinner or needing "together time" :)
I don't know, maybe I expect too much? Maybe I don't know how to be a better friend? I don't call people up to chit chat about what's going on, which seems like strange for a woman (at least according to my husband!). I used to do that, when I was younger, but now I feel like I'm going to bother people or catch them at a bad time or I don't know when the family has bedtime...sigh. I am great at email and IM though! :) I'm not good at inviting people to do things--I often feel like I have so much other stuff going on that I neglect relationships unless someone pokes me.
Maybe I want people to be like me? I know that's impossible...but it seemed to be easier when we were all in similar life stages. And now that I'm in the post-wedding, pre-kids stage, it seems like there's no one else out there who I can meet. I've talked about this before, so if you're still reading, thank you for not closing the window. I know that there are lots of women like me (I follow their blogs) but why can't one of them live down the street or across town? Someone who doesn't really enjoy shopping at the mall, but loves a good antique store or yard sale? Someone who can dig in a garden without freaking out about dirt or doesn't think it's weird to buy an old mirror and imagines stripping off the old paint and refinishing it?
I just KNOW that the second I do get pregnant or if we adopt a child, there will be all sorts of invites to things from other women. Why is that the only time we feel like we can bond with each other? (Well, wedding planning can bring out this, too...) If you're not a bride-to-be or a mom, you can't connect? (What do women usually ask each other when they meet--how many kids do you have?) This all might be an oversimplification, and an overstatement, and I'm sure it is. It's just the best way for me to describe how I feel and what I see. I wonder what it is like for women who never had children at all--women like my aunt, who didn't find her husband until it was too late for babies? Like a former coworker, who from her hinting just couldn't have them and for whatever reason, she and her husband never adopted. They find their ways. I will have to find mine.
I'm not hating on my mom friends for giving attention to their children. I understand that their babies are their main focus, and I don't want them to be labeled bad mothers. I think I thought that as time went on in my adult life, and people drifted apart, there would be new people to fill those spaces. And that hasn't been the case, which leads to my disappointment and frustration.
Another tangent of sorts, but semi-related:
I was talking with one of my doctors about children recently, and how I'm nervous because I'll be 31 next month and we still don't feel ready, but we're starting to enter the beginning of the end of child-bearing spectrum. One of us doesn't make enough that the other could be the SAH parent, but we don't have enough to eek out ~$1,000 monthly for day care (what infant care costs around here), not to mention the increase in health insurance and all of the other necessities babies need. She asked me a few questions about my family and my in laws (mostly in regard to their availability to help)...and then she said something quite profound.
She said that when it was time, there would be a way to do it. She said that it wasn't my time because the way wasn't there. She didn't use God (I know she's a Christian, not sure which denomination) but one could put God into this context. I liked that. It felt right to me. Sort of along the lines of God not giving you more than you can handle. To me, it was like saying that you can't force something if it's not going to happen. Almost like when you're locked out of a room. You can rattle that doorknob all you want, you can try to break the door down, but if it's not going to budge, it won't open. Why waste the energy to keep trying when it's pointless? I guess worrying can be like that, too. All my worrying and thinking won't change the way things are or the way things will be in the future, so why waste the energy? Why I can't remember this when I start thinking in these directions? :)