Sometimes its strange for me to look at all of those in my life and see how different all of our lives have become and at how many different places we are in. People from my hometown, high school, college, people at work–those who are important and dear to me seem increasingly spread out all over the place. Maybe it was because I was raised in a relatively small hometown or that I went to the same school from kindergarten until I left for college, but I was always under the impression that friends were easy to make and plentiful. Then, I chose to go to college at the University of Alabama where I knew only two people on campus (my cousins) and made the move 9 hours away from little Texarkana, TX and said goodbye to my comfort zone. I was lucky here too and God looked out for me. I joined a sorority, got involved with the Honors college and various other organizations and before I knew it I had more friends than I knew what to do with. And, I love each of them dearly. I will say I have always been one to be on the outside of groups though. I can say this is not by conscious choice, though I have to believe that subconsciously this must be the way I like it…though I don’t understand it. What I mean by that is my friends have always been spread between many groups of people. I get uncomfortable if I get too settled with one, narrowly set group of people–like I’m being close-minded or turning my back to others that I could meet or befriend. So I guess that’s why I’ve always felt that I never had a set “group” to call my own. Oddly enough, whenever I start over in a new place, that is always what I look for. Inevitably, I either do not find it or if I do I at some point distance myself. I don’t know any other way to explain it. Maybe I’m a wonderer…I think there is a song with those words in it somewhere…ha.
After William and I got married and moved to Austin, the most difficult reality of “growing up” that hit me was making new friends. I’m not sure what changed, whether it be that I got married at a young age, maybe I changed in some way…I don’t know but I have decided in the past few months that being a grown up and making new friends do not always come hand in hand. I would consider myself an outgoing person so I can guarantee you, it’s not because I’m shy. My life went from college, when I had a lot of time for socializing, to 8+ hour work days in a big city with a new job and a new husband and I’ve decided that growing up is tough stuff.
Luckily since we’re from Texas, we knew people here in Austin when we moved (these people were life savors in the beginning, so thank you!!). After a while though, like I said, I become restless. I get this need to meet new people–expand my horizons. William is involved with an awesome studio here in Austin, the Public School which has given us some great friends and so many opportunities to meet new people. I have gotten to know several people that I work with fairly well, though, at my age most people are not married so this has posed a problem in a few situations. Not that I am opposed at all to having single friends–a girl needs her girlfriends–however, I have found that a lot of people don’t want to go out on Friday or Saturday night with “the married girl”. William and I also are still searching for a church home. He and I are very strong in our faith and are hoping that a church home will provide a stable group of friends for us. However, we haven’t found a place that we feel is where God wants us which is frustrating, but I am being patient that we will find it in God’s timing.
So that’s it! After you take those things into account, you’ve wrapped up about 90% of our week days which seems to leave such limited time for meeting new people. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and praying about this and have come to two realizations. First, it’s not just me. Meeting new friends when you’re an adult is hard and I would say especially hard when you’re married. That includes the added complications of single friends vs. couple friends, if both spouses like/get along with the other husband and wife, etc. etc. This has provided a little comfort to me as I went through a few weeks there that I was afraid I was going to have to become a hermit. Ha! Secondly, making friends is no longer a ‘reactive sport’. Time is limited and meeting new people and building new relationships is 100% PROactive. I need to make a conscious effort to continue the relationships with those I already know and love, and we have to try very hard to find ourselves in situations to ‘put ourselves out there’ to meet new people. The way I look at it, William and I are “dating” for new friends.
We have come up with several ideas for the two of us individually and us together to make efforts to continue to bring new people in our lives. Here’s what we’ve come up with!
- Make it our priority to find a church home here in Austin where we can meet friends and find accountability for our faith.
- I joined a book club (again…the reading obsession) at a local book store Book People .
- I also joined the local alumnae club for my college sorority–yay for new girlfriends!
- Volunteering. Both of us want to give back to our community–this is something we will do together most likely.
- Joining various organizations (i.e. Slow Food Austin–read about that on Thursday’s post).
- Make an effort to have people over/go out with friends we don’t spend much time with–it is important to continue to build existing friendships as they are our support system.
I think this will be a priority and struggle for us for the rest of our lives. William and I both feel a burden to continually expand our group of friends. Not only to be accountable for others but to learn from them as well. I think maybe some people come to a point in their lives where they feel there are just too many people to juggle and it becomes overwhelming. William and I are the opposite which is why we feel so strongly about continuing to make new friends. I know I’ll never feel like I have enough friends…I think it’s impossible.
So, I think that’s it for the day…no pictures, no images, nothing very exciting. Just an honest view into my life–my desire to not become settled in my comfort zone, to not be closed to meeting new people and learning from them. If you’ve struggled with this and have words of wisdom, they are more than welcome–leave me a comment, I am always in need of wisdom. In the meantime, for all of those who are my friends who are reading this, you are wonderful and precious to me and I am thankful for you. And for those who I don’t know or haven’t had the chance to meet, I hope this is not always the case, I hope we meet someday.