A wonderful friend of over twenty-five years lives in North Carolina. We were college roommates. We broke up for a time, but we’re back together now. We’re at very different places in our lives: she has three children under twelve and I have one who will soon be seventeen. She’s been married forever and I’ve never lasted more than a couple of years. She has a large family around her and I don’t. We have opposing views on things sometimes, but, at our cores, we are the same.
And, come to find out, we are both feeling pangs of disconnection. We long for activities to learn, to participate, to contribute, to discuss, to debate, and to enjoy.
But there’s a problem: we are not group people. We tend to be introverts and panic at the thought of social small talk. I can also talk myself out of anything. I schedule activities to attend, but, when the day comes, I’m full of excuses. I think it’s a combination of not so stellar experiences in the past and just plain fear - fear that I won’t fit in, fear that it’ll just be a lot of trouble and somebody’ll piss me off, fear that somebody’ll cough or sneeze on me or wipe their nose then reach to shake my hand, fear that I won’t know where to go, where to sit, where to stand, what to wear, what to say, and so on.
Luckily, our fears of having no friends and no community seem to be stronger right now. So, boldly, we decided in a phone call yesterday to add “getting out there and doing things that interest us” to our 2007 to-do lists.
And something seemingly small becomes encouragement and support, and, actually, the beginnings of connection: “Shoot. If we lived in the same town, we could do this together.”
It meant more than she knows.