My dear friend Kelly posed the question: "Did we make better friends when we were younger? Did we just bond harder?" And I have to say, I am thinking the answer is yes on both fronts.
Kelly has known me since I was 19 but closely since I was 21. We had a mega blowout girl-fight around the age of 23. I had not yet learned to temper my, well, temper. I was downright mean and hurtful. She was no sweet pea either with her ire up, but here we are! Mutual admiration society. I adore her. She actually introduced me to my husband, so how could I not be madly in love with her? Kelly is this powerful combination of Earth-Mama-Sex-Kitten-Rocket-Scientist. We went through the clean and the dirty together in college. We were younger, we bonded harder. We supported each other emotionally, financially and - on occasion while stumbling out of Max's - physically. At a time when the world is wide open and drama is a given, you cling to the people who "get" you.
At 36, I don't really care if anyone "gets" me. It is nice, of course. But really - I have a cadre of folks who get me. The only thing I find is that I frequently wish I was still entwined with those people instead of 3,000 miles away from them. Because it is VERY hard to make friends as you get older. You feel more cautious. Your story is long and probably a bit tedious and who the hell really has the time to learn your story these days?
I am a friend snob. I get very disappointed in people who let me down. I am a loyal dog and I expect the same. I fall in love with people all the time. Not a sickly swoony romantic love but a full lust-for-life love. I like having fun, I prefer it greatly over the alternative! No hidden agendas with me.
Couple dating is the worst. I am so thankful that, for the most part, the women and men in my life have managed to partner up with people I find palatable. It is so hard when you get along well with one but the other is a dud. Not that I am calling any of you out, you lovely people.
My husband chose a profession that supports our nomadic tendencies. He relies on my big personality to help build up a group of friends when we move. I am tired. Virginia took a chunk out of me and New England has taken a bigger chunk. I worry that wherever I land next, I won't have the energy or interest to put on my Cruise Director hat.
Some people call it baggage. And yeah, it does accumulate, but some of the baggage is really good. It helps you be more discerning. As I get older, I am mellowing out substantially. My husband and I don't have giant throwdown fights and we never call each other names. We also never toss around the word "divorce" unless it is actually on the table for discussion. Married for over 12 years, it seems to be working for us. We set those rules early on (I think he saw what my nasty side could do to a person and it scared the hell out of him!).
I don't like gender roles at all. I am not a little wifey. Preacher and I have switched off provider roles and have mostly had a pretty equal partnership throughout. I like having male and female friends. I choose to be married. I am not fulfilling some ideal or lifelong dream of marriage by being married. It is all about choices. My husband is my dear friend. I would chose to hang out with him even if we were not married because he is the funniest person around. And I have Kelly to thank for lining that up.
I am lucky. I have made some great choices. I have true-blue friends, old and new. I have enough self confidence to really never lose sleep over being liked one way or another. In your mid-30's, that is a great place to be.
Kelly get's that. She gets me. She gets Preacher. So "Cheers" Kel. Happy Birthday. Yes. It was easier to make good friends when we were younger, but at least we found each other!