Sunday, May 20, 2012

All My Friends Are Talking about Leaving*

A couple of nights ago, I went to a going-away party. Friends are off to live the adventure they'd postponed for work and family responsibilities. They'll build a house by the sea, hike, canoe, and weave themselves into the fabric of a new community. I wish them well.

And miss them like hell although they won't leave town for two weeks.

Another friend lost a job locally and found a better one almost 600 miles away. Email keeps us together. In a way. After a fashion.

What am I saying? It's not the same.

Friends have left for job transfers, suburban school systems, and retirement. You'd think I'd have gotten used to saying good-bye.

But no. It gets harder, not easier. In college, it was easy to corral potential friends into a study group. As a new mother, it was a cinch to start a playgroup for toddlers/gab session for moms. Later, co-workers became friends because we had a lot in common--and our jobs ate into our non-working hours, making it tough to balance family life, never mind outside friendships.

Goodbyes have made me reluctant to befriend someone new. There's a woman at my exercise place who's snarky about issues and nice about people. That's a combination I like, but I haven't mustered the energy to invite her for dinner. What if she's allergic to cats? What if Hubs and her significant other have zero in common? What if? What if?

Over the next few days, I'll remind myself I haven't lost the friends preparing to leave town; I've gained a reason to visit the Outer Banks.

Will I believe it?

Not a chance.

*Thanks to The Head and The Heart for the title


Coleen Patrick said...

I think I have almost always been the one to do the leaving--which I think in some respects is easier to do. Not fun being the one "left behind."
That's enough to make me want to wallow.
*hugs* Pat!

Louise Behiel said...

I get this sentiment. I live in the same city all my life. In fact I've lived in a couple mile radius for 43 years (Ouch, that hurt to admit). so I am the one left behind. and I find as I get older it's harder to connect because I don't have the kids' school or play group, or my ex's ball team or ... I work and then I come home to write. so lack of opportunity combines with a solitary pursuit and I'm alone more now than ever.

Lark Howard said...

Some of my friends have moved away too, Pat. But my life keeps changing as well. I no longer see a lot of the people I met over the years through work, the gym, or neighborhood proximity because we no longer have much in common.

Meeting new people and discovering new friendships is part of growing for me. I still love those dear old friends of my younger days, but they are a cherished few who remain part of my life no matter where we are geographically.

Sarah Andre said...

Tough to 'lose' friends, Pat. Even with internet, Skype and trusty cell phones it's not quite the same as them being in the same town. I remember when my friend Sarah C moved to Tyler it felt like I was dealing with a death of sorts.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

No wallowing, Coleen. You wrote a wry but uplifting blog post today and I'm still focused on the leap.

It's exciting to move away, but we lose something when we do. I've lived 1400 miles from my siblings, parents, and besties from elementary school/hs/college for more than thirty years and have missed out on a lot. Ack! I'm wallowing Okay, I'll take the hug and shut up.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Louise, don't you find your friends these days are writers? And aren't we a mess? We hole up for long periods and emerge for RWA meetings, blinking at the sunlight. Our heads are filled with imaginary characters, and when we're out and about we people-watch more than we talk. No wonder my friends are moving away!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Lark, thank you for suggesting we have dinner last week. I had a great time and value your friendship.

Readers: you probably think Lark and I are best buds, but we were mere acquaintances when Lark asked me if I might want to contribute now and again to this, her blog. We've gotten to know each other via our posts, and Lark's trip to France last fall spurred the one I made last month. She's fashion forward, and I'm no-iron all the way. She lives close-in, and I'm on the city's outer fringe. She's a dog person, and I favor cats. Nevertheless, we have enough in common, like a love of France and writing, to make a go of the blog.

Thanks, Lark!

Lark Howard said...

Thanks for making the journey "in town" to my fave French restaurant. I had a great time visiting!

The blog is as much yours as mine, Pat. I'm thrilled it's given me a new friend!

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Email's great and so is Facebook. It's not the same but better than nothing. What's great is that when you go visit those friends in the Outer Banks, it might be like they mever left. At least that's how it is with my best frinlends from HS who live on DC, who I only get to see once a year. And I am gaining writer friends all the time now. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You're right, Sarah. Nothing's the same as being in the same town and connecting for coffee or a whine and cheese session. (Deliberate misspelling) Tyler may be in the same state, but it's a haul to get there. Shoot, The Woodlands seems far away to me.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Jennette, one of these days I'm going to visit Dayton. Readers: On Mondays, Jennette's blog focuses on her hometown of Dayton, Ohio, and her posts show it to be full of unexpected history and present-day landmarks and achievements. Today, Jennette posted about her favorite diner in Dayton (I'm a Jersey girl and have an affinity for diners), and she let it slip that Rob Lowe and Martin Sheen were born in Dayton and still visit.

Carol B said...

Pat - you are so right. I'm native and have lived in the same area all my life. We've seen friends come and go - and many never to see again. I KNOW we will not have that happen with these friends. She will make a point to see that doesn't happen - and yes, we will trek to the Outer Banks (sans Hurricane time LOL!!) Without her - we would not have met. Being "handicapped" it makes it even harder to "meet" new people. Using a walker makes me always feel "in the way" - I find a corner and usually end up there the whole time....but we have you and your hubby....we WON'T let that keep us apart! We will meet soon!!!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Carol, you light up any corner you're in--and you don't have to make the rounds at gatherings because people gravitate toward you.

Thanks you for your email that arrived yesterday as I was finishing up this post--and wallowing. Sniff.

Yes, we'll go to the Outer Banks. Meanwhile, we'll cherish OUR friendship. I'm grateful for it.

Karen McFarland said...

Is this friend moving to Paris? They better have a guest room that's all I have to say! I know about friends moving away. I was a friend that did the moving last time. It's never the same. And what is it about us that we like sameness. Don't rock our boat Pat, right? Yet, I will say that we have friend that we've known for forty years. And we can take off where we left off every time we get together. You can't replace friends like that. And you want to make new friends? May the force be with you Pat! :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

My friends aren't moving to Paris, Karen. What the heck, I'll visit them anyway.

I'm counting on what you and Jennette said about being able to pick up where we left off.

Meanwhile, I count you among my new friends, Karen. Methinks the force is called Kristen Lamb.

Kecia Adams said...

Hey, Pat. Your post was very poignant for me because as a military family we logged 12 moves in 18 years. That's a lot of leaving! But there's a silver appreciate the friends that do keep in touch. And I would say we're closer as a family because we always have each other. Hang in there, someone as kind and giving as you are will always attract cool people! :)