I suppose our personalities dictate our social habits--at least that's one aspect. Never the life of the party, my pattern was that of having a best friend to hang out with as a child and teen, a few treasured friends as a college student and during my twenties, and then back to a best friend at twenty-eight; however, seldom losing any of the treasured friends along the way. Marriage and children changed things. The single friends became fewer because they had time and I didn't. The pushy friends had to go; they were not a good usage of my time. Ahhh, but the rest of the bunch... I'm happy to have.
During my younger years, my friends were within four years of my age. I went to school with them which stands to reason why. When I began working professionally, I met people who were older, and then younger as I became older; however, the friends who I spent time with were still closer to my age.
Having a child opened doors to new friends. I hurried through the church halls with them as we dropped our infants and toddlers off at the nursery. I would eventually spend many years with my younger neighborhood friends in the classrooms of the elementary school. While this was going on, I'd notice women my age on the tennis court or getting into their cars, dressed in heels and cute skirts, going off to work. Our timing was different. Their kids were older.
As the years came and went, do did the seasons of my life. All three kids were in school. I was in my late forties, that time of life when women want to be more than what they've been. I acted upon that need which resulted in connecting with those women who were on the tennis court and elsewhere when I had toddlers. I walk with them. I do Book Club with them. I have lunch with them. Some are younger than me; some are older.
I appreciate them all.
With my few, young, "still-making-babies" friends, I respect this time in their lives; a time devoted mostly to the needs of their families. I know that they are at the play groups and in a teaching/nurturing mode all day long. From them, I am able to pull up happy memories of my kids as babies, and also to feed off of their youthful outlooks as they plan bright futures for themselves and their children. Funny, I'm old enough to be their parent, yet we share the bond of being mothers who have children at home.
From my friends who are a mere decade behind me (give or take a year or two), I keep up with the happenings of my children's peers; i.e. at school, church, around the neighborhood, on facebook, etc. I learn of "kid" opportunities to take advantage of and of situations to avoid. I exercise with these friends, have fun with them, and carpool with them; they are my village. Like the youngest group, though, they are not yet seasoned.
Which brings me to the last group of friends--the veterans who are in their fifties and sixties; the wedding planners, the grandmas, the travelers. From them, I can forget I have kids for a while... if I want too; even when they talk about theirs. Our topics of conversation have the widest range: from frivolous to funny to serious; and when challenging issues arise in their lives, they are calmer than my younger friends. I am one of them, too.
Eventually, I will spend time with friends who are over seventy because I will be closer to seventy, and I will enjoy them, too.
Do your friends vary in age? Are they women, men, or both? Who are you most comfortable with?