Today is the five-year anniversary of when I left my crappy hometown in Michigan to start my big adventure of trying to re-establish ourselves in Texas. I still think it was the best decision I ever made.
But I can’t help but think about the friends who made it possible for me to get here. I’m forever grateful. But more than that, I just realize how much I miss them.
I’ve never had a group of friends who knew me as well and (most of them) still liked me anyway. I was thinking recently about what was different about that group of friends and about why it’s been so hard to replace. It’s because they were largely all really intelligent women who were very politically aware.
Most of them were very liberal socially and religiously. I don’t know if they shaped who I was or just reflected me. But I do know that I never felt self-conscious for not being super up on pop culture. We talked about current events and books and relationships. I miss having friends I could talk to about anything, who understood and shared my interests.
I find that without them, my life is a lot lonelier.
There were some changing group dynamics that I grew tired of a couple years after moving down here. It seemed like there were a couple members regularly ganging up on another member chosen at random (always couched in the name of “concern,” of course) and I just grew really tired of it.
There’s also the fact that I took a 9-month break from Facebook because I was just tired of social media and it wasn’t the same when I came back. It never has been the same again, with that group or otherwise. I don’t feel compelled to share as much of my life on social media anymore. Actually, I feel more compelled to avoid it. I went from posting my thoughts or the events of my day several times a day to a few times a month. Not an easy way to feel included in a community.
There’s also the fact that I went through my weird anomalous evangelical phase somewhere in that time frame, too. I can understand why many of my mom-group friends thought I was weird. In retrospect, I think I was weird too–or at least behaving significantly out of character.
Some of my views are evolving, though not as many as I feel like I’m supposed to change. Trying to be a practicing Catholic often makes me feel like I should be conservative and vehemently anti-abortion. Though I’m marginally more conservative than I once was, it’s not by much. And while I’ve come to believe that a fetus is indeed a life form separate from its mother, that doesn’t translate into being radically anti-abortion.
So I don’t feel like I fit in with anyone. In many ways, that group was somewhat running its natural course. All our kids were reaching adulthood, so there’s less we could say about them. There’s still a core group that’s in regular contact but it’s much smaller than it used to be.
But that leaves me here feeling lost. Those friends were the only ones I had who understood me, or at least where I didn’t have to keep things on a shallow level. So how do I make new friends now, especially since my kids are grown or nearly so? Since I work at home and I try to avoid Facebook, I don’t have a lot of opportunities to meet people.
I frankly don’t think I want to meet people at church. Catholics who attend mass weekly are in the tiny majority and therefore tend to be the more fanatical. I do have a couple friends in other states who are weekly mass-going Catholics and aren’t fanatical, but they’re nowhere near here. And how do I find people like them here?
I’m still hoping and planning to go to grad school this fall. When I do, maybe I’ll meet people there. Or maybe I’ll have the money to start going to yoga classes and will meet people there.
I just need to meet people somewhere. And I want it to be face to face because I don’t know how to do online communities anymore.