When I was twelve years old, all my best friends in the world lived less than a quarter mile away. Down the block, around the corner, or just over the hill. My favorite people were available and accessible, almost all the time. Friendship was easy.
I’m twice as old now, and friendship is a lot harder.
I have more people I care about, and less time to spend with them. I’ve had some amazing new friendships form in the last decade, and I have fallen in love with them all. But, we all have had school, jobs, cross country moves, and even marriages. And all of those adventures, while fantastic in their own rights, don’t leave much time for playing catch up over coffee.
The hard truth that no one tells you, is that the older you get, the harder it is to make and maintain friendships. I still meet a whole lot of people. But, everyone I meet has a full time job, a serious relationship, or is in the mist of an existential crisis. And all my old friends are going through much the same.
I became friends with Austin when we were seven because we were both walking the same way in our neighborhood. Later that day, he was my best friend.
I met Clark in the hallway of a dormitory. We hung out a few times, lived together for a year, and then became real friends.
My friends live in Montana, Washington, and Bulgaria. And now, after ten months, I have friends in New York. Everyone is just a phone call or text or subway ride away. It’s easier than ever to stay in touch, and yet I feel like my friendships, old and new, are slipping through my fingers.
I would say it’s just been a tough week, but I know better. I’m afraid of losing my friends through apathy and distance. But my biggest fear, is that in twenty years, I won’t have anyone to call.
As our lives provide us with more hardships and obligations, it seems like we give ourselves more excuses not to reach out. But, the more complicated life gets, the more that’s exactly what we need.
I’m going to try to make more time. Because lord knows, if we want to make or keep friends, time is the main ingredient.