I got a call from a friend tonight. Two calls actually. The first told me that she was having a rough day. Nothing 'end of the world' nothing enormously tragic or traumatic, just one of those hard days we all have. The second was asking me to come over for some emergency friend time. I had to wait about 5 minutes for my pizza in the oven to finish, but that gave me 5 minutes to gather emergency friend time supplies. And then I bolted.
We just chatted, I helped her get her kids to bed, and she felt at least a little better I think by the time I left.
As I drove home I couldn't help but think about the differences in our lives. I praised God, again, that I have the absolutely unequivocal freedom to simply drop my existing plans and bolt to her house as fast as legally possible. Granted if I had only a husband I would still more than likely be able to say 'Honey, she needs some girl time,I've got to go, I'll see you in a couple of hours.' But maybe not, it depends on what we were doing. And if I had kids of my own, most likely I wouldn't have been able to leave, period.
I have an incredibly varied circle of friends. One married incredibly young. One lives in a teeny tiny house. One has a story I simply can't even compress into a couple of words because the length and breadth of it takes my own breath away. One new friend has one child and plans to live abroad. One has two kids, One has 2 and one in the oven, one has three consisting of two birth and one adoptive, one has a total of 8 that arrived in 2 batches and one has 4 under the age of 5. One 'gets' me in the depression stuff I struggle with. One's mere presence in my world exhorts me to keep fighting the good fight. One accepts me as another extention of her family. All have kids who absolutely adore me. There is no inflated ego there, ask my friends, their kids think i nearly walk on water. I have one friend I've been friends with since high school, one I've known since college, a few for 5+ years and others for various other times. And then there is the new friend from college I reconnected with this week. Oh, and the friend who moved to Florida who also holds her own special place, and our mutual friend I've gotten close to who feeds my sporadic pyromanic need.
I often try to remind myself that I have a speed dial of amazing friends. And if it really hit the fan at 3 in the morning, I know there are a few people I could call. However, in this age of cell phones and turning them on vibrate/silent or charging them in the other room that might be harder than it was 4 years ago. But I know that If I were truly truly in need of something I have more than just a couple of people to ask. And that's only counting what I consider my 'Inner Circle.'
I know I am blessed. But the friendships aren't easy. They take work like any relationship does. They take understanding and concern and compassion and empathy, and effort. Effort which I'm reasonably sure I would not have had if I'd been married all these years and certain not if I'd grown a kid or two.
I always have a lot of days where I wish there was someone there. But usually whatever my 'reason' of the moment is I can get it fulfilled in other ways, or it's a silly/stupid reason. In the movie Bounce Ben Affleck's character says that he doesn't have a 'last call of the day,' and he wants that. I often say that to myself, that i wish I had a last call of the day.
On my worst days, usually already in the throes of a full meltdown I think "I just want someone to CARE!" But have finally gotten to a point where even that sounds hollow. I am absolutely certain I have quite a few people who care, even if the originating issue is sometimes incredibly shallow or stupid.
Sometimes I just want there to be someone waiting. Waiting to see my smile. Waiting for me to wake up. Waiting for me to come to bed. Waiting to see my reaction to something. Waiting for my delicious dinner. Someone who truly enjoys my company so much that he chose to make it a permanent habit. But then, I run around a LOT and it could be because I don't care for my own company so much, how could I think anyone else could.
I know there are people in my circles who envy my continued singleness. They envy my lovely apartment and my ability to schedule whatever I wish whenever I wish, for the most part. Some people envy my youth and what they assume to be enough time to learn to fix my crappy habits. I, myself, am not quite so convinced of this. A few envy my freedom. Freedom to turn off the noise and bask. Or freedom to turn on EXACTLY the noise that I desire to hear. Freedom to clean or not clean as the mood strikes, which to be honest it seldom does. Freedom to earn and spend as I wish without checking with someone constantly for permission or balances. And some may envy my peace. My ability to live mostly at peace in life with no one else exerting regular and strenuous pressure or distress into my life. The ability to simply walk away from a relationship if I deem it unhealthy or unwise.
I understand all of that. Intellectually. And some days I even 'get' it on a spirit level. But I still have a lot of days where I think "Do you know what I would give to have that???" And truth be told, if I truly had to choose something to give it's not nearly so great as I think, but that depth of desire is still there. I look at different families and wish for different pieces. I even say out loud, I don't want your husband, but I do want my version of what you have.
And maybe it's not to be. But I do so wish that more of us could get our perspective straightened out. I wish that they could see that although i am free to earn and spend as I wish, I am also limited by a single income and my own incredibly well-formed bad habits, And I have no inherent accountability to check and balance my emotions. Although I am free to come and go as I please, I often end up here alone playing ridiculous and pointless facebook games just to pass the time until i can fall asleep; and, that I am often sleep-deprived because if I wait long enough before crawling into bed, i won't notice that I'm falling asleep alone again for the 2589th time. I may be free to turn on or off the noise as I wish, but the silence of often deafening and the choice of noise is often dialogue that romanticizes entirely too much. I may have a number of people I could call at 3 am if something tragic happened, but when I have a bad day and that straw breaks this camel's back, I cry alone.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born,
and a time to die;
a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill,
and a time to heal;
a time to break down,
and a time to build up;
A time to weep,
and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn,
and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get,
and a time to lose;
a time to keep,
and a time to cast away;
A time to rend,
and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence,
and a time to speak;
A time to love,
and a time to hate;
a time of war,
and a time of peace.
I just wish we could each come to a stronger and deeper appreciation for whatever season we're in right now. You've had some upheavals and put on a bit of weight. I've had no upheavals and consistently carry 20-50 pounds too much weight. You are tired all the time because your hormones are off the charts. I am tired all the time because I am too preoccupied and distracted to shut off this time sucker and get inside a bed to fall asleep. You cry because you are stressed out from re-negotiating life with a brand new person added to your family. I cry because I jammed up my hand badly and it hurt like a whole lotta words I won't put into print here.
I told my friend tonight "all you gotta do is breathe. That's it." And she took a deeper breath and gave me a very small smile. Don't be forever looking to the next season, appreciate this one you're in, it'll go by much too fast. You don't wanna miss this.