One interesting thing about being in our thirties, and not in our twenties, is that the choices that we make are actually starting to have an impact on our everyday lives. Of course, choices always impact everyday life, but when you’re twenty you can sit around in a pub debating the merits of having children or not having children, pursuing wealth or making a vow of poverty, working for yourself or working for The Man (etc etc) and at the end of the day you and your mates are are still sitting around in a pub, being together, laughing, drinking and thinking. Together.
Take that same group of people ten years later and it may be quite difficult to even get together for a drink. Maybe one of you has children that can’t be out late, one of you made a vow of poverty and therefore can’t afford to get to the pub, and another one of you is working for The Man who is insistent that she work till midnight tonight.
I think the impact of our thoughts, ideas and choices on our everyday life is greater now than it was ten years ago.
I don’t think of myself as having an unusually diverse group of friends, and yet, the older we get the more I am seeing the need to make room for difference in our friendships.
This is particularly true because a difference of opinion is no longer a heated debate round a campfire; it’s someone’s actual day-to-day existence.
I’m learning that if an old friendship is going to last, it has to expand, to make room for other people (their partners, their children, those they are committed to, their communities…) and it has to make room for difference between us too.
It’s an interesting dynamic and one of the questions it causes me to mull is what friendship actually IS. The less friendship is founded on common interests or similarity, the more I find myself asking what constitutes friendship. What makes people friends, and what makes some friendships last the distance – and last the difference?
Image from my personal collection