I feel like one of the most frustrating/challenging things about growing up is realizing how many things are changing that you never expected to.
Ideas and feelings sit like facts inside our heads when we're younger. Things that will just always be, regardless, no matter what, forever and ever.
We'll always be young, we'll never have obligations, and the people around us will always be around us.
Period. End of story.
Then things start to change. When and how varies, but a common thread is the feeling that we think something is wrong. Then we try to resist whatever it is that's happening. And then sure enough, a slow, strange realization starts to seep in that no matter how much we always thought something would always be a certain way, things change.
The most obvious change is probably with our bodies. One day we wake up and our knee hurts for no reason, or our hangovers seem to last a little bit longer than they used to or suddenly parts of our face seem to be decidedly less youthful.
Those things happen over night. Just one morning we wake up and things are different.
When it happens it is immediate and awful, the end of an area and a frustrating lack of control we are unused to, being the creatures of unlimited potential and infinite time that we are.
What is more surreal and a bit more subtle at first, are the changes our relationships go through.
When we are younger the superlative adjective-noun pairings in our life are the ones that we spend the most time around.
Our favorite cereal is the one we eat every morning.
Our favorite shirt is the one we wear every week.
Our best friend is the one we do everything with.
Again, period. End of story.
As we get older, for many of us, the world around us gets bigger, faster. There are suddenly more things to do, more places to see, and people in our life.
Despite my best efforts to ignore it, the older I get the more things in my life require more of my attention. The easy to understand and implement daily schedule of home, school, play, family time, bed evolves into a multi-textured ever-changing, expanding and collapsing timelines of obligations, wishes, unforeseen events that continue to happen.
We start to realize that having a best friend no longer means seeing them every day, being a part of their every significant moment, and what has perhaps been most challenging for me, knowing every detail of their life.
I think for me it's been because that was the rubric by which I so fervently judged my closest relationships, as perhaps many of us do.
Oh we know everything about each other.
Knowing equaled being. If I know everything about you, I am everything to you, or vice versa.
Though as we get older we start to learn that breadth is not depth, and that realization is hopefully accompanied by a realization that it is ok, and perhaps, even liberating.
I had a shift recently where I started to worry I wasn't seeing my friends enough. It was kind of scary because as I tiptoe up to the gates of 30 no piece of literature, common advice or otherwise says that we suddenly end up with much more time for the people in our lives as we get older.
The people in our lives get the most attention when we are youngest and have no choice but to spend all of our time around everybody, and and perhaps again when we retire and start attempting to complete actions and activities we have some how managed to completely avoid until we are suddenly fearful of our dwindling time and thus start throwing around the loathsome term "bucket list."
Where am I going with all of this?
I have no idea, you're guess is as good as mine as this point.
What I do know is that relationships change and evolve, or at least they can. And that is OK. This has been a hard pill for me to swallow.
Suddenly one, my specifically, starts to realize the way they tell stories to their closest friends change. The whats become less important and the whys rise to the surface.
I have found myself skipping over elaborate story setups that could take hours and summarizing all of the lead-in by saying x happened, then y, and now I am here, and this is what I'm feeling. And this is what I want to talk about.
Conversations become like news broadcasts, skipping over the interesting but unimportant minor stories until settling and exploring the feature story that is important that night, that month, or even that year.
And even as I write this I'm starting to realize there is a kind of liberation in that. There is less of a need to keep somebody abreast of every single little thing in your life and instead a focus on being able to get the most out of your interaction with that person.
All the groundwork has already been laid. With my closest friends we planted the seeds 5, 10 or even 20+ years ago. We require less back-story, less pre-amble, and instead we join our regularly scheduled friendship already in progress.
It's a far cry from youth where time spent together seemed to indicated quality of interaction. Time on the phone, time shooting hoops, time spent sitting around doing absolutely nothing for hours, but feeling like no time had passed.
It is probably one of the greatest, most widely held misconceptions about time, that it is completely irrelevant when you have it in abundance, but any awareness of it immediately cuts its amount in half, and doubles in value.
The unexpected continues to happen, my friendships will continue to evolve, and I will forever try to appreciate them for all that they are and not just what they once were.
Or maybe a little of both.