Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Egg Shells

"As you grow, your associates will change.  Some of your friends will not want you to go on.  They will want you to stay where they are."
I was perusing blogs the other day and noticed the above quote in the margin of a blog friend's page.  I did an audible "Hmmm..."  And I immediately thought, "OMG am I that person?  Do I make my friends feel like I don't want them to move ahead?"  No author was listed, so I googled the quote and it's supposedly a snippet from something Colin Powell once said or wrote.  If you look up the entire message, I think you'll see that it's about making wise decisions regarding whom you associate with, because you eventually become who you hang around.  Which I completely agree with, by the way.  A couple of weeks ago at church, we were asked, "who are you listening to?"  Because whomever you're listening to (and seeking wisdom from) is a preview of the future you.  So true - what a good way to put it.  And I realize I have no authority to give mom advice as I'm an ignorant non-mom, but I was a teenager once.  So I can say with confidence that it's absolutely crucial that you KNOW your teenager's friends.  They are who they hang around.  But this is something that follows us our entire lives - not just as kids.  We are always being influenced.  We are who we hang around.  So yeah, I'm very careful about who I hang around and you should be too.
But aside from that whole argument... that quote got me thinking on a different level.  I know I've mentioned again and again how I'd love to freeze time and keep my childless friends childless until I can join them.  It's not like I voice that to friends or even really mean it.  It's just that pit-of-my-heart selfish desire.  It's much like being the "eternal" single gal and watching all your friends get married.  You secretly want to keep a few unmarried pals to yourself until you can find your own mate.  Of course you're *happy* for your friends and all their milestones - truly you are.  But let's be honest, it sucks for you and me.  And it's OK that it sucks.  I know how all this crap affects me... I know my limits and what situations to avoid.  I realize the funk that goes on inside my own head.  I do.  But after reading that quote, I'm left wondering... do I somehow impress that selfishness upon my friends?  Do they feel like I can't be a good friend to them if they move on without me?  Yes, I DO want them to stay where I am.  I'd be lying if I said otherwise.  But the bigger question is, do I make my friends feel like I need them to stay put in order to be my friend? 
I've always considered myself to be very self-aware.  But that doesn't mean I don't get blindsided sometimes.  And I don't really know the answer to my question.  I guess I'm just saying, I know the issues I have and what I need to do to get past them... but is it possible that my inward angst sometimes spills over and makes my friends uncomfortable and our relationships awkward?  Do they feel like they have to tip toe around me?  I'd like to just keep the hurt and awkwardness to myself, deal with it, and let the world continue to spin. 
But I guess relationships are always growing and changing... it's inevitable, right?  Who you associate with changes as you go through different stages in life.  That's totally normal.  You tend to gravitate toward others like you.  Moms look for other moms.  Singles look for other singles.  And then there's us - the perpetual DINKS who can't seem to fit in anywhere.  And little by little, people keep leaving our little club.  I know I willingly alienate myself from certain groups... honestly, finding myself stuck in a circle of moms is my definition of hell.  One on one, no big deal - I have lots of great momma friends.  But when I get greatly outnumbered and all topics center around breast-feeding and labor nightmares and the terrible twos... just shoot me while I'm smiling and nodding.
I wish I had an easy answer.  But I guess the only thing to do is to be OK with the fact that things change.  I will continue to make time for the people who are important to me - no matter what stage of life either of us is in.  I love my friends for who they are, not where they are.  My friendships may look different from year to year, but that doesn't make them any less meaningful.  So what do y'all think?  Any advice?  I'm not even sure I have a clear question.  All I know is that quote made me go "Hmmm..."


Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Oh I totally agree on all accounts. Just hope I made the cut to still be your bestie!

And I totally selfishly want a few of my girls to still be single. But here I sit...alone...the ONLY single out of every single group of friends. So when you are upset that so many of your friends have kids, just call me. Because not only do I not have kids, I can't even get a date, let alone a hub. We can laugh at ourselves having a little pity party. And laugh at how we had things all planned out when we were cheeky 22 year olds!

Anonymous said...

I struggle with this all of the time. I have friends that are married, married with babies/children and single. I just reconnected with a friend after ten years and it's hard to have the same friendship as we did back then because now she's the single one and I'm the married one, it's just different.

My husband and I can't have children which makes things even harder for my friends that do have them. I feel left out of meeting other mothers at play groups etc. but I just keeping thinking that He has a plan for me and I roll with it. Thinking of you.

Julie Tiemann said...

I know we're not really IRL friends, but knowing what you write and knowing what Jill says about you, I can't imagine that you've ever made any of your friends feel bad or awkward. That's the thing that's always impressed me the most about you - that you manage to be completely honest, yet also gracious. But I love that you're thinking and talking about this, because I'm sure we can all relate to some level - just in completely different scenarious. Thank you for always being real!!!

Jillian, Inc said...

Well, sweet lady, I have to say I totally hate being in groups of moms too...and I am one. Nothing worse that sitting around at a girls' night or whatever and talking about KIDS. That's why I have a girls' night....to get away from that. I don't want to talk about my kid, let alone anyone else's. Too much drama and comparisons kid vs. kid, mom vs. mom, etc. Pour me some wine and let's talk about anything but KIDS.

BritMarie said...

Loved this !

Hey, do you watch Giuliana and Bill on the Stlye Network?
They are pretty much dealing with the same thing right now, IVF, first round wasn't the one for them :( so they are going for a second. Might be nice to watch.

Don't know you, love your blog, and am praying for you!!!!

Dr. Blondie said...

I totally agree. I struggle with all of these things, too.