The LW of this post, who asked how she could be less annoying to her friends, sent me an email yesterday. It’s not exactly an update, but it brings up a topic I thought others could relate to and so I want to share it:
I read the article, and I even watched the first 1-1/2 episodes last night of the SATC reboot , And Just Like That, and I have some thoughts. First, I will not be watching any more of AJLT, but also: my friendships as a 45-year-old married mom definitely look a lot different than they did as a single and childfree 25-year-old although I wouldn’t say I feel less close to my friends now than I did then. My availability – physical availability, especially, but emotional availability, too – is different now, but the bonds feel just as tight if not tighter. I do have friends who feel like family to me, and as with my actual family of origin, I find that I don’t need to see them frequently to keep the relationships strong (although, of course, it’s lovely and wonderful when I do see them!).
In my 20s and even in my early 30s before I had kids, my friendships did revolve around a lot of the kinds of activities I cannot easily partake in on a regular basis anymore – spontaneous nights out, bottomless mimosa brunches, spending entire weekends just hanging out together – and, you know, I didn’t expect that would continue forever anyway. I don’t really miss that lifestyle very much. I mean, it was great, and sometimes I long for a weekend like I used to have, but that’s what my 2-3 annual weekend vacations with friends are for! And maybe I’d feel different if I were the friend who didn’t get married or didn’t have kids, but I chose the lifestyle I have now, I mostly enjoy it, and I know it won’t last forever either. I’m in a stage in life that doesn’t match the stage all of my friends are currently in, but that’s ok. We still find ways to stay connected. And for the friends who ARE in the same stage I’m in – parenting school-age kids – we find ways to stay connected, too, and those ways don’t *always* include our children. I enjoy where I am now, and I also look forward to eventually having more personal time back that I can invest in myself and re-invest in the friendships that continue to sustain me through multiple decades and life stages.
I guess my point is that my friendships look different now than they used to but not in a way that I regret or mourn or that has surprised me. I sometimes wish I had more time to just hang out, I wish that my friends who are also mothers initiated hang-outs more often (I’m frequently the one who gets us together), I wish that the long conversations I enjoy with friends happened more often in bars over beer or cocktails instead of on a bench in the playground, but I’m also totally fine with how things are and I wouldn’t choose a different lifestyle to accommodate any of the small wishes I have from time to time. I like investing most of my time in my family right now. My kids are growing so fast, and in a few years they’re going to be far less interested in spending their weekends with me and more interested in hanging out with their friends. And when that happens, I feel pretty confident that I’ll have the friendships I’ll want and need to enrich my life, because they’re here now and being tended to enough to remain here for me, when I’m ready and able, to give them more of myself again.
What about you? Whether you’re married, single, divorced, raising young kids, raising older kids, done raising your kids, or totally kid-free, do your friendships in your 30s, 40s, or 50s+ look like how you imagined or hoped they would when you were younger? Do you have friends in your life that feel like family, and if so, what does that mean for you and what does that look like?