I’ve been thinking about friends lately and wondering if I have any. If someone threw me a surprise party (please, don’t you dare), would anyone come? If I died, would the church be empty during my funeral? If I had to deal with a tragedy and had to call someone, who would I call? Who would call me? Would anyone call me?
I have a lot of acquaintances. I’ve managed to meet people from one coast to the other and have a lot of folks on my Christmas card list. I’m in touch with people I’ve known since elementary school and have connected with college classmates. I know people. People know me. I have Twitter followers and Facebook friends.
But I have this nagging feeling that I am out of the loop, as if everyone else is making plans to do things that don’t involve me. Delusional? Just the facts? I imagine the truth is somewhere between the two.
I just think everyone is having more fun than me. I have turned into a self-centered adolescent with age spots and a sprinkling of gray hair at my temples. I’m feeling sorry for myself and wondering what, exactly, is wrong with me. (Please, that’s a rhetorical question. No answers necessary.)
What is wrong with me?
When my friends went on family trips, my family broke apart.
While everyone else was partying, I was in the school library.
When my fellow brides were getting pregnant, I was busy being infertile.
When my babies were babies, I was the oldest mom in the church nursery.
When my college friends’ children were going off to college, my youngest was starting kindergarten.
I am always out of sync, somehow. I’m too old. I’m too fat. I’m too quiet. I’m too busy. I’m too serious. I’m too cynical. (My hair is driving me crazy.) I’m too religious, not religious enough, too introverted, not introverted enough, too ambitious, not ambitious enough. I like to be alone but I’m so lonely.
I’ve had friends in the past, friends who listened to my stories, who confided in me, who telephoned to chat while we both stood at our kitchen sinks washing dishes and sharing our random thoughts. I miss that.
I can’t seem to get past the acquaintance stage anymore.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.
All I know is that if I had to round up enough people for a party, I couldn’t do it.
Not that I even like parties, but still. It’s the idea. If I wanted to celebrate, who would celebrate with me? If I were to mourn, who would mourn with me?
I know that when I’m feeling blue like this, when I feel alone, the solution is to reach out, to find someone else’s need and meet it. To be a friend to someone else. I know. I do.
But I kind of wish I were just born an extrovert, one of those who seems to be a human magnet for other people. Can that be learned? I need to learn.
I tell myself that it’s the stage of life I’m in . . . and I try not to notice that other people in this stage of life have plans and people and places to go. Who has time, anyway, when you have four kids, a full-time job, a full-time husband (ha), three cats, a half-finished novel, ivy which will not stop creeping and laundry which does not wash itself?
Well. If I threw a party, would you come? If Idied, would you cry? If I stopped whining, would you cheer? (Don’t answer.)
I know I’m silly. I’ll likely regret this tomorrow, but maybe now that I’ve said it, I can stop obsessing and carry on. Cheer up. Things could be worse. (And then I cheered up and things got worse. Ha ha.)
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(I owe emails to people. That proves I have friends and if they read this, they’ll wonder if they don’t count somehow . . . but, of course, I’m not talking about them . . . just about the people in my immediate orbit, the ones who I would call if I were to throw a party, not that I ever throw parties, the ones who don’t exist here, not on a deep, intimate level anyway . . . which I’m sure is my fault because I am so guarded. I’m sure that’s it.)