I’ve been with my husband for 11-1/2 years, but I’ve been lonely for a very long time.
I had friends growing up, as most of us do; but once we reach a certain age life kind of takes over and things change whether we want them to, or not.
Barb #1 moved away and we grew apart. Barb #2 go married, I moved away, and we grew apart. Curtis got married and we lost contact with one another. Liz went off to college and then traveled. Other friends moved, traveled, or became wrapped up in their own lives, too busy to be bothered with old friends anymore. I moved around a lot, bouncing from one relationship to the next, until I met my husband and became a mother. Phone calls became few and far between, and were nowhere near as long as they used to be in High School. Interests changed. Circles evolved.
Such is life.
For several years the only people I had in my life were my husband, my children, my family, and intermittent visits & phone calls with Liz. I spent my days with the kids, evenings with the husband, and the rest of my time on the internet talking to strangers all around the world. I didn’t go anywhere. There were no phone calls. No coffee dates. Only loneliness.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But one needs more than just family to survive. We need someone to vent to when the husband is being an ass. We need someone to watch a sappy movie with and cry without judgement. We need someone to go shopping with or to sit and have coffee with. We need people. We need a life outside of our family.
I searched for this “outside life” for a long time. But it is surprisingly difficult to make friends as you get older. You either don’t have the time or you don’t go anywhere to meet someone new. It’s not like when you were in school and meeting new people just by sitting next to them in a classroom. Sure you can make friends at work, but what if you don’t work, as I didn’t for several years? And I can honestly tell you, if you walk up to a stranger on the street or in the mall and introduce yourself randomly, you get some really weird looks and maybe even have to have a conversation with the police for being a stalker. Just saying.
This Autumn I logged into a local parenting group on Facebook and saw a post from a mom talking about how difficult it is to make friends in your 30’s. There were dozens of comments of, “me, too!” As I read further, someone suggested something called a $240 Club. A $240 Club is a group of 12 women who commit to get together once a month for 12 months. Each woman brings $20 and names are drawn to see whose home the next meeting will be at. The person who is drawn will be the next host and gets the money ($240). The catch is that the woman has to spend the money on herself – not her husband, kids, bills, etc. What a great idea, I thought! Meet some new people, get a little spending money, and enjoy a night out once a month? Score!
I am happy to report that, as a result of the $240 Club, I now have friends. Goddess, that sounds pathetic. But it’s true! I have really clicked with some of the women I met at the group meetings. One, in particular. K is a little bit younger than I am, but she is married, has 5 kids (you read that right!), and is married. Two of her children have ADHD and so does she. Talk about things in common! We started hanging out a little bit and have become fast friends. Our children and husbands get along which is just icing on the cake. Suddenly I am having phone conversations again, going for coffee, hanging out just chatting, and learning new things while introducing someone else to new things as well. Yay! Starting this week we are going to be getting together with a couple of the other women for a girls night out, as well. We are hoping to make it a regular thing.
I am not lonely anymore.
It took me a couple of days to put a post together for this exercise. I really had to think hard about what I felt needed healing in my life and what had BEEN healed. It’s just not something I normally think about. In the end, writing this made me realize how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I do. It also made me realize that my not having friends for a long time was not a result of anything directly related to me, it’s just the way things go sometimes and anything can be overcome and changed if you really want it to. Nothing is truly permanent.