As I’ve got older, my friendships have naturally aged too. Some have evolved as we both grew and changed together while others faded away as the commonalities between us became non-existent and our friendship got lost in time. Being in lockdown for the past two months means that I’ve had plenty of headspace to reflect and friendships have been at the forefront of my mind.
For me, they come in all kinds of shapes. Like the people who started out as colleagues and soon became a solid part of my personal life, even after the jobs had been left behind. The ones I arrogantly thought would always be around yet have quietly morphed into passing acquaintances. Those I made through blogging and never banked on becoming actual human friends with, yet I feel like I’ve known them for an entire lifetime.
Those who I formed friendships with after we found ourselves facing unexpected life changes and bonded over our respective trauma with a quiet certainty that (fortunately) not many others could ‘get things’ in the same way as a group of lost young widow/ers did. The gig friends, the occasional friends, the old school friends, the friends of friends who I met in the smoking area of a dingy but magical King Street nightclub and have stayed in touch with ever since.
Finding those beautiful, authentic connections in a new friendship is something that doesn’t seem to come along often in adulthood so when I do spot the tell-tale signs of another soul on my wavelength- usually when we begin to bond over a love of eclectic musicians and an awkward sense of humour – I grab the opportunity to expand my social circle with both hands.
They hold a different kind of energy from those relationships we have with family members; the choice to invite another person into your life and share each others most vulnerable moments of fear, love, excitement, celebration, joy, and heartache without any expectation or condition, to empower each other and pull each other up when needed is a privilege like no other.
This lockdown has given me – and no doubt so many others – the chance to really think about where my priorities lie for the first time in a long time. I mean, for someone who generally has the social skills of a house cat, I am missing those friends I cherish dearly more than I ever thought possible. Yet I’ve often neglected them in favour of more obligatory tasks, family life or being too mentally drained to entertain the idea of any form of human interaction; simply replying to a two-day old text message seemed like hard work.
I was overwhelmed on my birthday earlier this week by the amount of love around me, displayed through the parcels that arrived on the doorstep, the messages, the calls and the lovely gestures of kindness that reminded me just how flipping fortunate I am to have that support network, to have people who are still there and making an effort, despite having their own busy and complicated lives to navigate.
The pace of my ‘old’ life made me lazy in an area where it matters most and in hindsight, I have been subconsciously taking so many of these irreplaceable friendships for granted. I had to resist the overwhelming urge to jump in my car and drive for six hours to go and see of my dearest friends recently after hearing that she’s going through the most unfair, terrible time; it was the kind of situation where a video call or sending flowers just isn’t quite enough.
Not being able to meet up in coffee shops and order overpriced drinks and natter for hours about our respective lives, to plan weekends away and celebrate special milestones together is making me crave that time with my friends in a way I’ve never felt before. I mean, of course I’m going to stay at home until it’s safe again because I’m not a complete fucking idiot and yes, I’m aware that it’s very much a temporary first world problem but my word, I miss that particular cluster of brilliant people more than ever recently.
As soon as this is over and we all slowly begin to find a ‘new normal’, I’ll be spending my days making memories and breathing in those content, happy little moments with the friends I treasure and appreciate more than anything in the world right now.