Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friends

 
I've written about single friends, blog friends, and even pushy (ex) friends. This is about the ages of my friends.

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?

19 comments:

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Great insights Anita. I have a wide variety of friends as well, but I have purposely culled the field a bit. I like to think of myself as a young for my age and have younger friends, but also one of my sweetest friends is a man over 90. He shares memories with me of the "greatest generation" and his life experiences. He is far away in Maine, but I enjoy his letters so very much. I think as we age we become open to many types of friendships but choosier about who we spend that time with. I know I have.

Cheers!
Julie
Julie Magers Soulen Photography

Hilary said...

Another fine post, Anita. My friends are mostly closer to my own age.. a few older and a few younger. But the ones I connect with best are those in my own general range (give or take 5 years).

Abby said...

I can relate to much of this. I think having kids had the biggest impact on my friendships. Like you say, the single and childless friends get left in the wake as we just end up with other moms. Or we get left in their wakes.
Because of that, most of my friends are close to my own age. As I'm getting older *cough*, I can branch out again :)

Shelly said...

Great food for thought here. My friends are mostly close to our age, and mostly couples who are friends with both of us, although I have some very long term friends who've been friends since grade school. I enjoyed this post!

Barb said...

Hello Anita, I've missed reading your thought-provoking posts. I've just spent some time reading the ones I've missed over this period of time when I haven't been on the computer. (Had to chuckle about the pan episode!) My friends are a span of ages. My closest ones are 10 years younger and ten years older, so that's quite a difference! I feel I have something in common with all of them - we keep connections because we're interested in what's going on in each others' lives. My "older" friends all seem so young to me - they are smart, active people. I like hearing what they have to say. My younger friends keep me laughing and help me not to be a fuddy-duddy. There'll be another Girlfriends' Vacation in May - there are 5 of us who try to travel together at least once a year. Our ages range over 16 years - the youngest is 58, the oldest 74. We care about each other and have a lengthy history of both talking and listening to each other. That's what I think is important - not really anything to do with age.

Rebecca S. said...

Friends have been very important to me all my life, but especially when I moved away from my family to a different town and had children. These women helped me feel less isolated, were my book club, my walking club, and my mom's group. As we moved again a couple more times, many of these friends became people I had once known and valued and I moved on and made new friends wherever I lived - often other parents with kids the same age. Now, I have friends of all ages and stages and it keeps life interesting. Throughout all of this, however, I am still close to my oldest friend of all. We pick up the phone and speak as if no time has elapsed. You cannot replace that.
I do have several male friends, always have. Men are often less complicated to be friends with than women. I grew up with brothers and always found boys easy to relate to.

Debbie Jones said...

Hi, I just found your blog and am now your newest follower. I enjoyed reading through some of your recent posts. Your most current posts made me think a bit about who I count as my best friends. While I do have friends of all ages, I am probably closest to those who are close in age (50 something) with mostly grown kids. Maybe that's why I found your blog so interesting. Have a great week. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

Bonnie said...

What a lovely post to read today. I have been thinking this over recently since I moved away. I have found it very hard to make friends here, sometimes the cultural gap just seems so wide and I find it hard to fit in anywhere, plus racism is rampant here and I get glared at wherever I go by white people who feel I betrayed them. It's sad. We are getting a puppy soon so I think that's as close as I am going to get for a while :)

Linda Hensley said...

I have friends of different ages and treasure them all. Young friends keep me young and old friends keep me grounded. I learn things from the older friends and teach those lessons to the younger ones. Another wonderful post Anita!

Jenny said...

What wonderful thoughts you share Anita.

My friends tend to be older, but sadly, so many are leaving for the great beyond.

bettyl said...

Great post. I don't many friends--I'm quite content alone most of the time if I'm not with Hubby. The weird thing was when I was dating, it would always be men 10-15 years younger or older, never someone my own age. I never did figure that one out.

Rob-bear said...

Hi, Anita. I'm just out of hibernation, and trying to feel comfortably awake. I expect it will take a day or so.

An observation. I think you look a lot like Michelle Obama. Really. But what does a Bear know about anything?

Friends. I've never had very many. An only child and a loner is how I've been most of my life; an introvert, living an a highly extroverted world. C'est la vie.

Blessings and Bear hugs.

Simone said...

You are funny because I relate so well to you. I felt like I didn't belong in any of the friends categories. My kids, when they were younger, they were homeschooled so my friends were homeschooling moms. BUT they were very different from my perspective and theirs...cloth diapers, darning socks, milling flour, etc. Then, there were the young church moms who had "young" kids when mine were older. Then, there were the Barbie dolls women who were only in it for building their kids up for a degree at Harvard.

Now, I'm at a place here in Oregon and have friends that are more younger than I am. (between 38 and 44) and it's comfortable. I have discovered that I don't fit into JUST the 49 alomost 50 category anymore.

So I feel you!!

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Stephanie said...

Such a rich group of friends. Just at the beginning of my 40s I idntified with this post in so many ways...I am just now finally starting to make time for me, and my friends again. Time to start that book club up once more :) Beautiful post

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I like the post - so good about friends and friendships. I bond or have friends older and younger. They are my friends because we share some commonalities that have no bearing on our ages.

yonca said...

Great topic as usual, Anita! I have and had older and younger friends.I am OK with that. There is always at least one thing to share. A hobby like cooking or going to gym together, walking together' yoga..or just a nice chat sometimes' maybe about blogging or kids
Each friend brings my life a different energy and i really like it :)

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

After reading your posts, I thought about my “close” friends, some younger and some older. Except for being separated by age and race, they all have similar personalities.

Buckeroomama said...

I think I have a more varied set of friends BC (Before Children). After having kids, my immediate set of friends now, though not necessarily all the same ages, are mostly people in the same life stage that I am in.