I'm not the girl who always had a million friends. I'm the girl who always had a few close friends with whom I had cultivated friendships over many years.
Given the length of time I tend to put into relationships, the fact that I move constantly (I have lived in this apartment almost a year which is the longest I've lived in one place since high school) makes life difficult for me in the making friends department. I've gotten a lot better at it since starting college, but it's still difficult for me to feel close to someone that I know I'm only going to be around for a few months. Add to that the fact that starting a friendship is like work to me and that I really just wanted to be around Daniel this year after being apart for two years, and you'll see why I've had trouble making friends here.
That is, until recently.
My life is generally ruled by irony. So of course of the five jobs I've had in Chicago, the last one is the one in which I've met people I really like. Don't get me wrong, there are some people from other jobs that I've cultivated friendships with and that I still hang out with, but it wasn't until I started working at the census that I really found my niche.
Not that my job is glamorous or anything, but given the current economic suckiness, there are a lot of smart, capable, well-educated people working at the census. And the people I work with are really amazing.
We get on really well. We have for a long time, but it wasn't until people started leaving that we all started hanging out together outside of work (See? See the irony that is my life?). So now I actually care about these people, and I'm totally going to miss them when I leave in two weeks, and I'm also probably never going to see them again.
And now comes my lame attempt to tie this into marriage. You see, I'm one of those people who tends to get really wrapped up in their relationship (read: when I'm in a relationship, I kind of ignore my friends). I've made an effort to limit this effect since I've been with Daniel because things were always going to be more permanent with Daniel, and I didn't want to look back on my life at some point and realize I have no close friends.
Still, I worry. During my second year of college, the first year Daniel and I were together, I definitely used him as too singular a source of entertainment. When we were apart, and I didn't have him to fall back on, I definitely created stronger friendships with other people, one of whom will be a bridesmaid. But this year I've fallen back to my old ways a little more than I probably should have.
This is actually bad for our relationship. We love spending time together, so it's easy for us to only hang out with each other. However, there are some interests that we just don't share, and it's good to have friends with whom we can do the things the other doesn't care for. And of course it's always good to have friends anyway!
I worry that married life will lead me to not have close friends down the road. I have reason: my parents. Neither of them really hang out with anyone else. This can be a problem as my dad is gone half the year, especially since I'm not living anywhere near home anymore, and my brother has been the very definition of a teenager since I left, and now he's going to college too. My mom says she doesn't mind being alone, but she still gets lonely sometimes.
I could easily become that after having kids, and I really don't want to.
So I've made a pact with myself to not let my friends slip away after I get married or even after I have kids. They're too important for that, and so is having people in my life besides family.
Ah, but here comes that irony again. As I've said before, I really want to travel. Traveling means making new friends...that you will never or rarely see again when you come home. Something I've definitely already experienced.
I'm pretty good at keeping in touch with people long distance, but when you have to keep in touch with EVERYONE that way, it just becomes too much. You have to pick and choose, and there's still a lot of work that goes into the people you do choose, and sometimes I just can't bring myself to make all the phone calls or write all the letters or emails or whatever (read: I'm sorry I haven't made contact with you for three months, forgive me, I'm coming home soon!).
It's easy to let the far away people go.
But if you travel all the time, that's everyone.
And it is for that reason that it's probably good that Daniel doesn't want to spend a big chunk of our lives traveling. Because close, personal relationships are important to me, and the longer I'm away from my friends at home, and the more it pains me to say goodbye to my friends here, the more I think it might be good for me to be grounded. Because in the end, relationships really do matter more than touching all seven continents.
I guess that's kind of why I'm getting married so young.
People I Miss
All Personal Photos or Friends' Personal Photos