Moving at the age of forty three is not easy, most people have found their friends by then. Growing up, I had always felt keenly the sense of being an outsider, like my nose was pressed up to the window, and I could see people having friends but I felt excluded. Now to be honest I was a pretty out there kid and I spent a lot of time in my own head, in a nutshell I did not blend in well. In college however, I felt freed. I met new people, made friends easily and had the privilege of participating in a dynamic christian fellowship through the CCO. Many of those friends ended up in Pittsburgh.
After I got married and moved to Pittsburgh, I had an incredible network of dear friends that I had shared grief, joy, child rearing, and marriage challenges with, I am known to them. They are still my friends but I don't see them very often and their lives continue on without the frequent opportunities to share experiences with them. I always blows my mind a bit when one of my far-flung friends makes the trek to our farm. I feel so honored and blessed that they were willing.
The people of the Shenango Valley are very kind and I have met with nothing but goodwill here, but most people I meet have a full dance card, between friends and family (many of which all live here) There is just not room for some newcomer. With certain exceptions, generally I feel pretty alone. Compound that with the fact that 80% of everyone I know here goes to the church where my husband is the pastor. Oops, no talking about difficult days at home and my emotional overload can just bury me. Yet I am finding that a lot of my loneliness is not unique, when I reach out to my friends I find many of them swamped with their high school and college age kid's activities and needs, Many are adding full or part time work to the schedule and running day and night. In a similar way to rearing small children, middle class pre-empty nesting can be isolating too.
The picture above is an oriental poppy, There was a dense bed of them when we bought the farm right by our drive way and they remind me intensely of my friend and neighbor, Bea. Bea always had these in her front yard and I always associate Bea with these bright flowers. Bea and I have been talking lately, and each realizing we need each other now and it's worth taking the time to connect.
And then a few weeks ago my husband ran into a friend I haven't seen in years at a local coffeeshop. It turns out she lives just 20 minutes away from us. Barbara and I got together Monday night and I think we each realized how nice it is to connect with someone who "gets it" and with whom you have shared history.
I am blessed with many friends in many places and it is worthwhile for me to find the time to be with them. I need it.