This was not how it was suppose to be. This was not a part of the dream, goal or hope. This was not what life was envisioned as. But here we are, more specifically here I am. I've been given the chance to start over. I've been given the chance to wipe the slate clean and remake my life. How or where do I even begin? Friendship.
Friendship is a heavy word for those with social anxiety. The thought of actively talking to people I do not know makes me want to throw up. It instills fear in me. It makes me want to run and hide. It makes me want to turn the car around and head back home. It's good I live in a day and age where I can do just about everything online without having to be face to face. Actually, I do believe that will be one of the reasons for the demise of society.
Making friends has never been my forte. It's a struggle I've had most of my life. But I'm at the stage now where I need to reach out and do something. Through all my trauma there has been loss which includes the loss of friends. Its understandable, some friends just naturally fade away through life but add on trauma and most of them have packed their bags and took the red eye out of your life.
So where does that leave me/us? Where does that leave this interesting group of 30somes who are divorced with or without kids and have lost a lot of their friends, whether friends picked sides (because they always do) or some just feel too uncomfortable with your life now, or others have started their own lives and you are just in very different places. How does one navigate this way of friendship?
I feel like friendship at this age of the game is a bit like dating. When we were young we became friends over simple things, "hey I like your shirt, want to play at the park," "sure," bam, friends. At this age I feel like it's more like dating, or a really bad game of Cards Against Humanity.
When you meet, do you hug, do you kiss, do you give a firm handshake like its an interview because I feel like at this age it will be sort of interview-ish, you're going to be asked a lot of questions, So, what did you fuck up in life that brought you where you are today? Oh sorry, I don't mean to put the blame on you for being where you are but I'm a huge fan of statistics and they do say a lot about fellas these days. What are your labels? Ugh, too many I should stay away.....where do we even meet, how can we make it not date like at all?
Don't worry, I have messed up shit and labels myself, we'll bond well. There are other things to discuss, trips you have been on, the weather, politics (or not, that could end badly) your morals, values (again, touchy subjects there). I recommend talking about animals because everyone loves animals (and if your mate says they don't, run, it's done). I feel like it would be a quick game of 20 questions. But then, is that more of a date than making friends? Is it possible to even make friends at this age?
The answer is yes. You can make friends at any age and maybe this is just the age in which it is awkward? Or maybe that's just me because awkward is my specialty (eye wink). I have recently joined a few new groups and volunteer organizations and I do intent on making some new friends going that route but come on, I know I scare people away with my back story. But then again, I have a feeling a lot of people think that. How you look at yourself and how others see you isn't always the same. Where one might see me as a divorced, single mom with a shit storm past for the last 9 years, mental health labels up the wazoo, I no longer see myself as that.
It has taken a long time for me not to see myself as the above, which in that mindset, it was hard to make friends. But now, I see myself as a strong, resilient, kick ass women with an incredibility kind and caring heart who loves to help others and is working hard to make the future for her and her daughter (and their gazillion cats) the best that it can be. I am easy going and laid back, I tend to always find the positive in any negative situation. I like to encourage and support others through their hard times.
When you see the good in yourself, when you label yourself how you want to be "labeled", it becomes easier to find friends or find your tribe that align with what you see in yourself and what you see in the world, you just have to figure that part out first. Find your passions and find people who are passionate about the same things, that's how you meet people! Love history? Join a local history group. Love books and reading? Join a book club. Love animals? Sign up to foster or volunteer to help a local animal organization. Love tacos? We need to start taco clubs, like a book club but you get together and eat tacos (anyone want to join because I think it sounds like a fantastic idea). Find you an you will find your tribe. Re-label yourself how you want to be seen. See the good in YOU!
So here is to all the 30some people who are recently divorced, trying to figure out their way in life with this slight journey modification. It is possible to make new friends, you will need to make new friends because you will need a different set of friends to get you through this next step.
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