I've been doing some thinking about friendship lately.
People tell us we've had a lot of "guts", Dear Hubby and I, moving 2400 miles from all that's been familiar to us our entire lives in the Pacific Northwest to Michigan. We've left behind everything. Our home of 28 years. Our church of 35. Family. Friends. A job of 32 years. Familiar faces. Familiar places. Everything.
In this mobile world, this mobile society, young people are globe trotters. It's a big undertaking packing up all your belongings and heading out into the great unknown but it's more common for the younger set than it is for people of our age, crowding 60. Especially considering we'd lived in the region our entire lives. Neither one of us had ever been big travelers. We'd never taken a cruise. Never been to Hawaii. We took a road trip once to Yuba City, California, when we were newlyweds to visit Dear Hubby's Aunt Norma. Outside of that, we'd never been out of Oregon or Washington on a trip together. Are you seeing a pattern here? That we liked staying pretty close to home? Dear Hubby was more apt to take off all over Oregon for hunting trips but I was content staying home and keeping the home fires burning. I liked my nest.
And now here we are, living on the outskirts of Motor City. Motown. Detroit. We have a beautiful little house here. Dear Hubby makes a good living. Our children are here also, as well as our grandchildren, which has been a tremendous blessing...we are each others' support system and at least some familiar faces. Dear Hubby and I are very content and we love it here very much. We plan on dying here. One big move like this in our middle years is enough to last us the rest of our lifetimes.
With all that said, where do you begin in making friends? It's almost like going out and starting over in the dating field after being married for 40 years. You don't have to worry about the physical attraction part. At least I don't care what a friend looks like...I dunno about you. Maybe you love to surround yourself with beautiful people. Eye candy. Me, I look at the heart, the inner person. That's what attracts me to a friend. At the age of 57 I have a lot of history behind me. Heartaches. Joys. Milestones. Deaths of parents. A happy marriage of 37 years duration so far. I have friends 'back home' who go back to my girlhood, my childhood. I have friends from my very first job out of high school. I have church friends. Neighborhood friends. They're people who've known me for what seems like forever. And I don't have to start from square one and 'define' myself. They know me and they love me for who I was then and for who I am now. I can relax. I don't have to explain myself. They know I'm a little....a little?!...eccentric. They know I'm really goofy. They know I'm loyal and true and I love them every bit as much as they love me.
Well, you can go and introduce yourself to your neighbors and you become very friendly and they bring you over extra fruit salad or talk to you over the back fence. And that's very nice and that makes you feel very good. It makes you feel like a part of the community, like you're accepted and they think you're nice and all that. And for the most part that's all I require. Plus I have my 'home base' of family and friends on Facebook and keep in daily contact on there. Which is about all I had when we lived in Portland since I do full time day care for my grandsons and my life is so, so full. So full.
I love my daughter and daughter-in-law to the point of distraction. I enjoy being with them and doing things with them. And I do consider them friends but not....friends. Not contemporaries of my generation. Not someone I can sit down with and talk to about Woodstock and know they're traveling right back down Memory Lane with me and revisiting that time and place in their heads. Someone I can talk woman-to-woman to...someone with adult children, empty nests. Menopausal. Women who have a few years of experience in living under their belts. Someone who really, really gets me.
I've met someone recently who I think might fit into that category. Someone very sweet and kind. The lady I posted about on Facebook who told me at a gathering recently that she liked me the moment she met me...and I felt the same about her. But where do we go from here? Do I call her and invite her out to lunch on a Saturday? Is her life so full already that she has no room for another friend? Will my time and schedule limitations be too much for her to work around? I always have the fear of the same thing happening to me that happened to a friend several years ago who'd come back to my church in Portland after being gone for many years. She'd approached an old girlhood friend, hoping to re-establish that bond, only to have the other woman tell her, "I'm glad that you're back, but I have all the friends that I need right now." Ouch.
Ah well. I'm not my dad's daughter for nothing. I'm game to reach out and I will. And I will let you know where it goes from here. Because I like people. And I'm not afraid of reaching out, even if I get bruised in the process. Bruises heal.