When I first started this blog, it was one of the ways that I coped with the divorce and rebuilding my life. It helped me put things in perspective and explore my feelings, and figure out how to rebuild my life. I enjoyed writing and loved the feedback that was so positive. So now my life is back together, sort of, and I still want to write so I have to find a new direction. There are a lot of mommy-bloggers, fashion-bloggers, and food-bloggers and I really don’t have enough to say to just choose one topic. I know that successful bloggers find a niche but I think I’m going to be more of an everything-blogger and just write what I feel like at any given moment. So you may see a post about food, fashion, or grandma stuff, but you also might see a lot of other topics as my mind wanders around.
I think today I’m going to write about friends. Throughout my marriage, I tried to bring couples into the mix, going out together in groups or 2 and 2, but it never worked out the way I hoped and as time went on, our social life revolved around basketball and baseball with our son, going to all of the games and sitting with the other parents. Occasionally there would be group picnics and we always had fun but it seemed that there never was time to get any more involved than that. We did a good bit of traveling because of these sports so it filled up the time that we might have spent socializing in free time. During this time, I drifted away from my close college friend and my girl time revolved around work, going out to lunch regularly, attending meetings and trainings together, and it sort of filled that friend roll.
Upon divorce, I realized that there wasn’t too much happening in my life beyond work. My son was grown, no more sports, and I realized that I needed to expand my life. My son and I are friends, and talk about many different things, even working together on different projects, but I needed more than that. By this time, my college friend Kathy was back in my life and we were doing our best to get together regularly, but this was limited by jobs and different days off. We were able to pick up where we had left off, one of those friendships where you went through a lot together, knew each other’s secrets, and had a long history of friendship. We met around 1968 and were suite mates in the dorm, becoming best friends for 50 years now. But one person isn’t a circle so I had to decide to get out of my comfort zone and make some more friends!
My first new friend was Rocky, my little Yorkie. Rocky was one of the first things I did just for me and he filled some of that alone time that I had to adjust to. I loved that dog like no other pet I ever owned and mourned his death for a very long time. Truth be told, I’m tearing up now. I always had a pet, both single and married, but this little dog got into my heart in a different way. Perhaps because of the emotion of divorce, perhaps because of the circumstances, but in any case, he was a little friend that I loved. However, not much conversation going on with Rocky so I kept trying to find ways to make new friends, much harder as an adult than as a kid.
Next came the knitting group, something else that I never would have done married; just no time. I met Carla, Ray, Ellenbeth, Karen, among others, and this was something I looked forward to every week. We met at Bogart’s Book Exchange and spent a few hours a week knitting, crocheting, drinking coffee, and buying books. I managed to get there every week for about a year but then for some reason, it got harder to achieve and after a while, I gradually stopped going. However, I’m trying to get back to it and yesterday, I finally got there and while the group has changed a bit, and Bogart’s is in a new location, it was so great to be there. I’ve missed going. I won’t be able to go regularly but I’m hoping that yesterday broke the ice for me and I’ll continue.
I’ve also managed to hold on to some friendships from past work. Women from Headstart are still part of my circle and we actually met for lunch a few weeks ago. Several others are my Facebook Friends, and while we don’t see each other we keep in touch in that FB way. At my last job, I managed to bring several of my friends to my new job so we still talk regularly. And of course, there are the new friends at work now, and we occasionally go out to lunch after monthly meetings, but everyone has so much going on, and truthfully, most of these people are younger so are at a different place in life, and are busy doing their own thing. I love the connections that we have, but we all live in different areas and don’t see each other outside of work. And that’s OK.
I also have to mention Facebook Friends. I’m so happy that I’ve reconnected with high school friends and went to our 50th reunion in the fall. And I’ve come away from that with some new friends, looking forward to seeing their posts and in some cases, getting together. I also have made new friends on FB and while we don‘t meet, they are new in my life and enrich it.
Meetups are also something I’ve used to try to make more friends but that never seems to work out as the most interesting meet ups are too far. There are very few in my area and while I’ve thought of starting one, I finally decided against it and started Coloring and Coffee, again at Bogart’s, where we meet the last Sunday of the month and spend a few hours with adult coloring books, coffee, and socializing. It’s a small group but Bogart’s is a small coffee house, so that’s OK. If I made it a meetup, it would involve dues, and maybe a different location, so I don’t want it to change and like that it’s close to home.
So you might wonder what’s missing. I feel blessed to have so many people in my life but the one thing I don‘t have is a travel friend. I think there’s some gypsy in my soul as I love to see new places. I could take a road trip every weekend, given the opportunity and the time, and am a great navigator and car packer. I learned from the best, mom, who made the lists of supplies every time we traveled and kept track of the maps and costs for every trip we took. I actually have one of her notebooks from our trips and she tracked every dime spent when we traveled to Niagara Falls and Watkins Glenn, among others. And Dad was the packer, loading up that station wagon, the old Plymouth, packing every suitcase, cooler, and supplies like it was a puzzle to fit together. We never arrived with something we forgot at home, because those lists were detailed!
Life seems so much busier than it was growing up. Perhaps this is why it seems harder to make friends I remember my mother having groups that she met with, the Cousins Club (female family that met once a month), her Sorority, and when she and Dad retired, a group that they traveled with, mostly couples, but they were never home. I feel like I’m going to have to work part time instead of retiring because most of my friendships come from work, but at the same time I yearn for the freedom from work, so this is something I have to figure out. I don’t want retirement to be isolated and lonely. I want to be busy doing things with others, having fun, being productive, enjoying the freedom I’ll finally have to do what I like, but I also want to have other people be part of that. So I’ll close by saying, if you live in south Jersey, give me a call! Maybe we can become travel buddies or start a club, or just get together for coffee. The possibilities are endless!!