Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Friends, Part I

Sam and I have resided in Colorado for approximately seven years, six months, and two weeks - approximately. We have lived in our current city for approximately seven years, three months, and in this specific house for seven years and three days. I remember the day we moved in. The carpet smelled new (because it was), the paint was fresh on the walls, and we were excited to get about furnishing this new place we'd call home. When we purchased the home, neither of us expected to still be living here seven plus years later, but we knew we'd make it home for the time being. Almost immediately, we realized all the things that were lacking in the home, and soon thereafter discovered the mistakes we'd made in purchasing in this specific 'hood. We started looking at other developments in the area and slowly branched out to looking at houses in the Denver area and even beyond. I think we'd both say we've seen just about every neighborhood within a 35 mile radius (this is of course an exaggeration, but it feels as though we've seen them all). We told ourselves after a couple of years of living in our current home we'd be able to sell and move on to another area, just as we had done when we left California for Colorado.
Our house, just before we moved in
Seven years later, we're still in the same house, in the same neighborhood, complaining nearly daily (at least I do) that we just want out. It happened for various reasons. Though we bought the absolute cheapest house we could find in 2003, it was a new neighborhood, in the middle of nowhere, and we were convinced by Sam's father that we just 'had to buy' because we could 'always sell' at a later time. Things changed. The builder nearly left without completing the neighborhood (though, thankfully, they did at least finish all the builds - but that created its own set of problems, including abandoned houses, foreclosures, etc), the market crashed everywhere (causing even more foreclosures and abandonment), and eventually, I went back to college (which, I don't think has caused anyone to abandon their house). These things combined created a situation that basically trapped us in this house.
Outside of house, seven years later
Now we have neighbors on all sides, we've repainted the interior several times to find just the right colors (though I still haven't found them, to be perfectly honest), and redecorated more times than I can count. It made sense though. When we moved in, I was 27 years old. It was exciting to have a new house and to have all these projects to work on. Now, in my {gulp} mid-thirties, I suppose I realize how impetuous the whole deal was, and that there are other aspects of life I'm more concerned with than the house... such as bicycles, and being able to ride most places I need to go.
Stuart and G.E., riding through Roosevelt Park, early Autumn 2009
It's not necessarily that I've changed the core of who I am, but my interests have shifted over the last near-decade, as I believe they should. When we moved into the house, I also had a core group of friends who I had held dear for the decade and a half prior to the move, and maintained those friendships well into the ownership of the new house. They all lived several states away, but I knew that I had friends and could visit them, or they me at any point in time. They knew my weird quirks, my entire background and family, and I knew that nothing would ever tear us apart (now INXS' Never Tear Us Apart is running through my head - great). You'll notice though, that I said had a core group of people.

Things happen in life that we sometimes believe never will. At times, those are bad decisions or outcomes, other times they are good, but in the case of this particular core group of people, I believe that we just outgrew each other. How can you not when you've known each other since you were pre-teens and young teenagers?  There were just unhealthy aspects to the relationships, and rather than delving into a deep discussion about what actually transpired, I suppose I can summarize it all by saying that, though I believe the friendships were true and real for the duration of that period in life, they reached a cut off point and it was time  to move on.
Facing the road ahead
What I realized though is that through all of my fussing over the house and trying to make it the way we wanted, looking for new houses to live in (even though we knew we couldn't actually sell our house), and depending on these long-distance relationships with friends, I didn't bother to make friends locally or to actually find people with whom I share common interests in our area. Sure, I made the occasional friend/acquaintance through work, but I was never fully vested in any of these friendships for one reason or another. Some of these reasons were valid, others were not. When the original group of friends were gone, I suddenly felt alone, and wondered what I had done and where this was all taking me. I have believed my entire life that friends are family, and I believe whole-heartedly in having and maintaining loyal friendships. But what exactly makes a friend, and how do we find them when we're no longer forced to be together in classrooms and on playgrounds? This is the daunting reality of being an adult who doesn't fall into the 'typical' suburban (or even urban, really), thirty-something demographic.


  1. Scary how much I can identify with this! It's so difficult to make new good friends when like you said, you don't exactly fit into the typical mold for your demographic. Although we really like where we live location-wise, my husband and I don't fit into our neighborhood at all. It's very family-friendly, with many stay-at-home-moms and I just have nothing at all in common with them. We have many acquaintances and casual friends that we do things with on a regular basis, but none that I'd term really close friends. I'd love to change that, but at times it seems impossible!

  2. The acquaintances... I know them well. Well, not your specific acquaintances, but my own set of people. :o) I think I'm trying to figure out if it's me, where we live, or a combination of the two. I'm convinced it must be possible to have lasting, real relationships form in adulthood, but I'm still trying to figure it out.


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