I just hosted a two-day visit from a bestie.
Long-term readers may recall that this friend – who I’ve known since we met at University back in 1986 (and if there are readers who were just toddlers or not yet born at that point, your presence here is merely tolerated cos obviously, I hate you!!! 😉 ) – moved to New Zealand with her partner over three years ago.
We’ve both travelled and moved about over the years but remained close. We’ve been fortunate recently however, as LJ (once a high school teacher) started working for a major airline company, so has had regular flights to Oz since moving. Of course, my recent seachange away from the capital city to regional Queensland has meant that I haven’t seen her since well before I finished work in September last year.
When we spoke for her birthday last week she mentioned she was thinking of visiting and then Sunday I received a text message saying she would be here on Tuesday. A last-minute whirlwind trip.
I used to be a bit antipathetic about people staying with me. I’d always agree to visitors (or indeed invite them) but no matter how much I liked them, it always felt like a bit of an imposition – someone else in my space (have I mentioned that I’ve lived alone since 1991?!). But on this occasion, I found myself like a five year old at Christmas. For a change I didn’t stress that my verandah needed mopping or that I needed a gazillion different breakfast options… I was just excited to be seeing LJ.
And… just like that, the visit is over. We had a few magnificent days of non-stop chatter and I was reminded of how well she knows me and of our long history.
LJ, myself and one other friend were in a similar position for a long time. While other friends partnered off, married and had families – until just a few years ago – we three were all still single. But with that camaraderie came an interesting game of ‘comparison’ or competitiveness. At least for me. Not nasty stuff, just the begrudging niggly things… about weight, men, money and so forth.
It occurred to me, during this visit, that I’m no longer holding onto some of those issues – with respect to her, or other friends. I put it down to the fact that I’m actually a whole lot happier with my life. I’m not working day-in and day-out to spend half of my salary on a mortgage. I’m not feeling like my potential or creativity is constantly stifled. I’m not feeling as ‘alone’ or isolated (from the living). In fact, I realised… I’m no longer feeling like a victim.
It’s taken a really REALLY long time – and indeed I may not have been ‘ready’ before now – but I’m finally living the life I want to live and – as a result – I don’t begrudge those around me THEIR lives.
So… just…. wow.
Have your relationships with friends changed over the years? And I’m wondering if it’s different for men.
Were you born before 1986?! (Note that the correct answer is yes, even if it’s not true!)
* Not sure where the pic is from, as I’ve seen it in a few Facebook feeds over the last few days! Apologies for not citing its origin!
In a fit of wild and blatant self-promotion, can I also encourage you to read my Debbish post, written after a discussion with LJ. It’s about finding Prince Charming. Or not!
May 30, 2013
May 31, 2013
Yes I know Jo (and possibly that sounds arrogant but I don’t mean it to!). I was telling someone this morning that the ‘why’ I felt differently didn’t come to me until I was writing it.
May 30, 2013
I’m so glad you tolerate me here 😉 (I was 4…). I have a much more zen approach to friendship these days, I’ll make time for people who I gel with.
May 31, 2013
Hmmm…. yes Rebecca, I guess I can tolerate your presence! 😉
In actuality I’m not sure the age thing has a lot to do with it. Sometimes I have more in common with a single twenty-something year old than a thirty-eight year old with an 18yr old kid. If that makes sense!
May 31, 2013
Ha ha – I graduated university in 1985 so I guess I’m acceptable. And that makes you the young thing. It’s all relative.
May 31, 2013
So true. I just commented to Rebecca that the ‘stage’ of life you’re in can make a difference as well. Nice to know someone else remembers the 80s though! 😉
June 2, 2013
I would say I’m more cynical less romantic about life which makes for less competitive friendships. As I realise we all have our hurdles and even when something looks like a beautiful thing sadly there is often more to the story. I just to get so envious.
June 3, 2013
The envy has always been a problem for me. I often say that I’m contented with my ‘lot’ in life until I look around me and wonder why I don’t have: a higher paying job; better clothes; less of a mortgage; a boyfriend / husband / child etc.
But… I’m hoping that (along with the competitiveness I feel) is lessening.
June 16, 2013
It’s great that you are feeling at peace with where your life is at.
For me, my close girl friends always have and always will be the most important part of my life.
And I’m a big fan of my online friends too! If you had told me in 1986 (when I was 6), that I would have this beautiful thing called the blogosphere in my life – I never would have believed it. Or comprehended it 🙂
June 17, 2013
I know what you mean. As I’m not working I’m spending more time online and really appreciate that others let me (and the world at large) into their lives and share stuff with us. It’s an honour when you think about it.