Driving into work today I pulled up next to a car full of teenage girls laughing and carrying on and clearly skipping school on one of the first days of spring like temperatures. Part of me (the Corporate Recruiter) wanted to signal to them to pull over so I could lecture them how important education is. To remind them not to waste their days playing, but to study science and math and subjects that will help them to land a career in life. To advise them that it's going to be hard being a female in a workforce structured by "the boys club" and that they have to be quick, wise and confident when making recommendations and decisions. Thick skinned, but humble and willing to learn while making mistakes. To remember to laugh like they are today, but to not expect success to fall into their lap. The other part of me (the old me) wanted to inquire if I could hop into the car with them and blow off the day. .
As the light turned green and we parted ways, I started to think: "In my adult life, who are my friends"? In the past, it was simple. You had your core crew. The friends that you were the closest to that you did all sorts of things with. The ride or die group that ran thick as theives. Nobody had real jobs, everybody had free time, and staying out late during the week was no big deal. (late by the way is 9 o'clock now) As I cruise through my late 30's (actual number not important), friendship is ...well, different. You may still be friends with some of those people, but you're not doing the same things that you used to (Let's hope not). You're not going to the same places or talking about the same things. It's harder to get together. Free time seems almost nonexistent. I realized today my core turned into categories of friends. The following is a list of categories that make up my Adult circle of friends:
1. Work Peeps: The friends you spend the most time with. Even more time then with your family in most cases. (Hence work wives and work husbands) These people know everyone's name that you deal with, they know what you go through daily and they actually want to hear about it. They may even be entertained by your work stories that send outsiders into a coma. They have your back and you have theirs. Aligned by the common goal (which is purely survival some days), naturally they become your friends.
2. Ex Work Peeps: These people know you likely from your wilder younger days. More happy hours (and really late hours) with this group. You've danced till dawn and traded clothes on the way back into work in the morning. (If this was attempted today, you would die) Fast forward a job or two and later in life another subset of this category has formed into a solid network of respected friends that can highly recommend you for various reasons. Either way, you have the bonding stories that keep your friendship going and you even keep legends alive with your current work peeps through tales and examples proving you were cool once (maybe) and made a few decent work related decisions in a prior life.
3.Old School Crew: These are your high school and college friends. You made irreplaceable memories with high school friends riding around listening to the TLC cd (No scrubs was your anthem, and may still be). You also made irreplaceable memories with your college friends as together you morphed into MacGyver creating miracles on a low budget. High school friends hate your college friends since they feel replaced and college friends cant understand your high school friends BUT they join forces and equally hate your new work friends. Meanwhile, your work friends couldn't care less about either party.
4. Mom Circle: These ladies get you out of the house and moving when you feel like you will never dress in anything other then a robe. They encourage you to shower and comb your hair. (Optional but appreciated) They share stories of how gross and annoying their kids are to keep you sane around your equally gross and annoying child. They sip wine with you on playdates and laugh about life in general. Your child can have a melt down and its fine in this no judgement zone. This group is generally accepted by all, and surprise, the spouses like eachother too.
5. Cousins: Three words: Free For All. Cramming 9 people into a two bedroom home to create summer memories is completely acceptable here. The kids watch out for eachother and its gratifying to see them together. Your child can break something and you dont have to replace it. You can talk or sit in silence...and even close your eyes for a few moments as someone is always watching (likely the adults appointed the oldest child). There isn't an option to dislike anyone here.
6. Friends you have met in distant lands: The friends you have met when you've moved to new places. These are the people that made your new area feel like home again. You stopped wanting to jump off the cliff of "why did i move here" and actually enjoyed yourself. Old school friends just found a group to hate more...college friends agree and work friends want to hang out with them when traveling.
7. Facebook: The epic cluster of friends. Most of the above can be found here (a few are too cool for fb and rightfully so!) Best friends of present and past that you like and comment with on the regular to people you met at that conference that one time. You swore to keep in touch and now when they show up in your feed you wonder: who the hell is that?! You know more about people (and their kids, pets, meals and check-ins) from their status updates then you realized you cared to know. So much that when you see them out in public, you're pretty much already caught up. If anyone is incredibly offended by anyone else, you can resort back to the earliest years and decline friendships by deleting people. (Cyber Bye Felicia)
8. Bloggers: Whether you write a blog or just read a blog you tend to get close to those that you either religiously follow or just happen to peruse. Reading a blog on a regular basis allows you to feel close to the writer. You read because you like them. And why? Because they are like you, or so they write about topics you may be experiencing. I've become friends with a few bloggers over the past year and have to say that I really enjoy these friendships even though I may never meet them in person. Which is fine, because who has time for that. These people want to be friends with your friends (more people to read their blog) and likely if they are popular enough, your friends are following them already.
9. The lady at the State Store: I don't know if this friendship is even real but she certainly doesn't pass any judgment so she's OK in my book.
10. Friends of the Future: Who the hell are these creeps? Will they create more categories in my circle of adult friends? Will they become new work peeps, ex work peeps, newer old school friends, expanded mom friends, friends in a new town, friends on a new social media platform or friends writing a blog that I "so get" in my senior years? Can we fit more than 9 family members in the 2 bedroom shore house as we continue to grow? Will the lady at the State Store get promoted?
These are all questions that cannot be answered. I miss the days where life was simple and less obligatory. Where no plans were needed and the best times were made from nothing. Friendship is work.... hard work as you get older. Thank goodness for texting, facetime and forgiveness. We are so busy running here, there and everywhere all the time. So to those of you that have offered your friendship to me in one way or another, from my category to yours, Thank you for being a friend.....