Friendship used to be so simple.
You live in the same neighbourhood, sit next to each other at school, have built in recess breaks to go play with one another, and everything is simple. You are all joined together perfectly by age group, each one of you are taking in the same pop culture references that are aimed specifically at you. The toy ads, the cartoons, the jokes, and the movies.
I’m thankful that I got to experience some of that, although only up until around age 9, when I left school to be homeschooled, and we began constantly moving. There was a large portion of my childhood where I didn’t have any friends at all (or only a couple at times), between the ages of 9-14. Feel free to learn more about that time of my life here.
It may not seem like very long, but as I just posted a blog titled 5 years, I am reminded of this other period of 5 years in my life, and just how long 5 years can be. Being without friends for any period of time is extremely troublesome, and I hope to never find myself in that position ever again, but sometimes I really wonder why it has to be so hard.
The older I get, the more frustrating I find it to maintain friendships. Everybody is busy with work, romantic relationships, hobbies, kids, and so many other endless responsibilities. It’s never going to end, and only ever continues to be a barrier between what our friendships used to be, and what they are now.
There are so many times when I find my heart crying out for time spent with friends, thinking about the past times when nobody had anything more important to do than just sit around and hang out together. Now, we all have something more important to do, but is it actually?
Sometimes I wonder what it might be like to experience culture outside of North America. I know that there are many other cultures in the world that use community and togetherness to function. They rely on each other daily for all kinds of things, and constantly grow together as one. They know each other and care about each other, no matter what happens, and there is a love and harmony that exists. At least, that’s what I know from research. Sadly, I have never had the opportunity to experience the worldly love of another culture.
I’m buried firmly in the culture of North America’s privacy and selfishness. People care about themselves more than they care about others in every situation.
I try to do my best to throw that aside and be a friend to everyone, and the way I do that most is by being willing to share myself with people. I share my thoughts and feelings freely, because I desire people to know exactly who I am, and who I try to be. In fact, I often consider most people to be a friend very early on in a relationship simply because I enjoy being emotionally connected with people, and that’s just who I am.
Often I feel like I fail at being a good friend, however, because I too am consumed with all kinds of daily problems, commitments, and just life in general. There are times when I am asked by a friend what I am doing later, and I am usually overcome by sadness, knowing that I just don’t have that same level of freedom anymore. I have often already made plans or just need to get home for the regular daily responsibilities of life.
There are friends that I want to know more and want to spend more time with, but often it’s just too hard to manage to free up that time when dealing with different schedules and all of life’s demands.
Instead, I suppose that I am just going to have to learn to live with being the best friend I can be in the small moments, whether it’s in passing for just a few minutes, or by making sure to take initiative in coming together again from time to time.
I have an inherent trust in the people I call friends to always remain friends despite the culture around us constantly keeping us in our own small worlds.
Is it selfish of me to think like that?
Does it take into account what they might be feeling?
Do others feel alone more often than I do?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that I think about the intricacies of friendship and my friends themselves quite often, even I don’t get to do anything other than just thinking about them.