I experienced an interesting juxtaposition over the past few days, inspired by celebrating Thanksgiving.
I’ve always had this quirk where, on Thanksgiving and Christmas every year–usually during the commute to whomever is hosting that year–I go through all the contacts in my phone. I reach out to those old friends and admired acquaintances and wish them happy holidays, with the hope that, perhaps, some sparks may be rekindled and I might get to catch up with some people who, otherwise, I haven’t talked to in a while. This year, I also added why I was thankful for each of those friends and family members, instead of just wishing them a generic, “Happy Thanksgiving.”
I was really blessed with the responses.
They were sweet and made me feel butterflies–on top of being overly stuffed with turkey–and I even got a phone call from a friend who it’d been, what, almost two years since I’d talked to them? It seriously made my day. A couple friends mentioned that we needed to get together soon and catch up, which is exactly what I wanted to begin with, and even though no plans have officially been made yet, I’m still pretty jazzed the door has been opened, regardless.
Fast forward to yesterday evening, just a mere few days after Thanksgiving.
I was wasting time on Facebook, like you do. Somehow, I started going down the rabbit hole of looking through my friend list and looking at profiles of people who I don’t talk to much anymore; friends from college and even a few from high school. I caught up on life events I hadn’t known about otherwise: engagements, weddings, birthdays, holiday photos, graduation pictures, kids, the like. It was really cool, to see what some people were up to and how their lives were going, even if I haven’t talked to them in a while.
But it was also kinda sad.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m really stoked with where my life is at. I’m lucky to have the friends I do now, both new and old, and I live a pretty dang blessed life. Yet looking through those photos and updates, I couldn’t help think about the past and the relationships I used to have, some of which were really close friendships. Not all of them even fell apart, either. Some of them just faded into the background naturally, thanks to growing up, the main culprit, I think.
Doesn’t mean that I don’t miss them.
Last night, I just couldn’t help thinking about the “What Ifs,” you know? What if I hadn’t made X choice: would we still be friends? What if I’d done Y differently: would I have been invited to that wedding? What if I put in a little more effort: would I have gotten to know about this event in person, rather than creeping through social media?
Like I said, I’m really lucky to live the life I have. Sometimes, though, there are aspects about growing up I’m not exactly fond of. Losing friends is one of them. Fearing about the future is another. Though I’m generally pretty stoked about the future and all that’s left ahead of me, there’s another part of me that’s fearful, usually fueled by that “What If” train again.
What if I don’t have anyone to be a bridesmaid at my wedding? What if I never get married? What if I don’t have any friends by the time I’m in the 40s? What if life becomes as lonely as it felt last night?
I don’t really have any answers, here. I’m just musing and reflecting. I know I’m going to try and do better at telling those people who are important to me exactly that. I’m hopeful that those coffee dates which never come into fruition will do the opposite. I’m striving to not create a bunch of shallow relationships just so I’m not lonely, but to keep strong those real, inspiring friendships with those who are important to me. I think, with growing up, it just takes a little more work to keep those kind of friendships alive.
And that’s something I can do.