As I entered my thirties, I realized that making and keeping friends was not as convenient as it had once been. Marriage, careers, kids and relocations all seemed to chip away at existing friendships and stunt new ones from forming. But meaningful friendships have always been a priority and I believe having good friendships is a major component to a healthy, long life.
When we moved to Columbia, Missouri five years ago I was lonely. I was starting a new teaching position, but had the entire summer before the new job began and Mark was already neck deep learning the ropes in his new career. It took about a year for me to make friends that I felt really comfortable with.
When we moved back to Joplin after living in Columbia, Missouri for two years I felt like I had just settled into a good group of friends. And upon returning, a lot had changed with our friends. Some had moved away and some had children now. I was a bit discouraged but I was bound and determined to try and make new friends and create a sense of community.
Three years later, I have some of the best friendships I have ever had. It’s not because we’ve swapped deep dark secrets or had drunken midnight runs to Taco Bell (although there have been some pretty late nights and plenty of wine), or played in the winning homecoming game together, or went on a senior trip. It’s because we help each other by grabbing the mail or letting the dogs out when needed. It’s because when I only need one egg, I don’t have to go to the store. It’s because when my dog has a cancer scare, people text and come by and check in because they know how important he is to me. It is maintaining meaningful relationships with dear friends who still live in Columbia and even though we don’t see them every day or every month, we have spent the last four New Year’s Eves together.
Adult friendships can be hard, but they can also be wonderful. It takes initiation and consistency and reciprocation to have good friends and it’s totally worth it. I’m so thankful.