Wednesday, March 12, 2014

grown-up friends

I have been back in Houston for a while now, and I think I have finally grasped a feel for what friendship looks like outside of school. I like to think I had a good grip on friendships with people older than me, people in different stages of life than I was in, while in college. But being thrust into that next stage of life really changes things, much more than you can expect.

In college (and earlier), most friendships can be credited to proximity. You and a huge number of people your age and in your stage of life are grouped together in a relatively small area. You are in school with these people, you see them constantly. You will click with a few of them, and you start enjoying the other's company. Before too long, you consider that person a friend.

And if you are lucky enough, you will become close friends with the people you live with in college. You start out thinking there is some sort of a compatibility between you and the others, you agree to live together and hope for the best. You are with that person (or those people) through e v e r y t h i n g. Every text message sent from (or to) an ex-boyfriend, every aced (or barely passed) exam, every wild night out, every late night up studying, every achievement, every rejection, every headache and heartbreak. Through these shared experiences, a sort of intimacy forms that makes the basis for a close, personal, seemingly-unbreakable friendship.

Sure, this relationship will face hardships, that is guaranteed. But within you remains the confidence that this person will be there when you come home. That making plans with this person is feasible. That nothing, I mean absolutely nothing, can tear you apart while you are together in this space and time.

Even with those that do not live with you, the proximity remains through shared classes and organizations, and just the small radius that a college lifestyle provides. Some of my closest friendships in college were with those who lived down the street or around the corner, the people that making time to see required next-to-no effort.

Then, one day, you leave school. No longer is your best friend across the hall or down the street. No longer are you guaranteed to see them in class three times a week. Quality time with friends requires sincere intention and effort to make time for the other. Friends move away, and with them goes the convenience and ease of spending time with them. One of my closest and longest friends is married now and living in Boston. Another moved to southern California just a few weeks ago. Some live in Austin, some in Dallas, some just on the other side of the city. People get engaged, get new jobs, get married, have children-- a whole assortment of things will come up that make these core friendships less simple to maintain. And while things may become a bit trickier, schedules seem a bit fuller and everyone's pace begins to differ from the next, that does not mean the friendship should or will suffer.

In fact, is that not what makes these friendships more beautiful? Does not the effort made to spend time to reconnect with someone you love add to the sweetness of the relationship? Each minute I have spent sitting on the couching, sipping tea and discussing life with a former college roommate is more and more cherished than ever before. I sit and savor every word she says and every thought she shares, as I know this time is sacred. Every phone call brings a smile to my face and treasured memory to my heart, giving me the boost I need to finish the week or just brighten the drive home. While my heart aches in missing my friends, I rest confident in knowing that the friendship between us has not changed at all...just maybe the logistics. So maybe growing up isn't such a bad thing after all...?

all my love,

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