As a guy in my forties, it occurs to me that the one thing everyone my age has in common is that we all have no freaking time.
Let me explain…
Our jobs eat up 50% of our waking hours, not to mention the additional time spent answering emails at odd hours of the night and the unholy crack of dawn. And if you have kids (and are not working gross amounts of overtime) to be a parent worth your spit, between dinner, baths, and bedtime that’s four more hours, or put in other terms 25% of your waking time. Throw in getting ready, taking a dump (or two), managing your home and trying to hold onto a relationship (married or not) and you’re lucky if you have an hour left to try to fall asleep while you obsess over how much better everyone else’s life seems compared to your own.
Which based upon this, other than social media voyeurism, makes it impossible to on a daily basis maintain friendships, in any real way that is worthy of the people you call friend.
Am I saying you have no time for friends?
No, I am saying you have no time built into your life on a daily basis for your friends.
So what happens?
If you’re lucky you take the remaining three hours you might find a week and either give them to Netflix, or even worse spend them with people that aren’t really friends. I’m talking about extended family, parents from your weekly carpool and yes, your neighbors.
Now there is nothing wrong with these people…But these ARE NOT your friends.
Your friends are the people who remember the time you peed your pants and forty years later have still told no one, they’re the ones who toasted the end of summer with you after high school graduation and then talked you through a bad acid trip the following July. I’m talking about the people who turned the four years you did spend in college (what you remember) into the best of ones of your life, the ones who made sure you didn’t hook up with that girl who you found out later had chlamydia, stopped you from driving drunk in the first car you could afford, and even let you speak at their wedding even though you were a mess to look at. This is your partner in crime during your twenties who went out with you like a champ every week regardless of the fact that you were both poor and the first person you called after 9/11. It’s the human being over the decades of your life who you magically bonded with instantly like a lost soulmates or just cracked you up.
That is your friend.
And here is the newsflash almost all of them are still out there…but you’re wasting your time with Dianne and Dave who live next store instead.
So here is what I propose…
Make a list of your top ten friends you either don’t see enough or miss seeing at all, send them a text or an instant message and send them a shout…if you have a little more time, just freaking call them out of the blue. Take these 2-3 hours a week and just use that time to check in on old friends and see how they’re doing. Doesn’t matter if it’s not enough time to have a ‘good conversation’, it never will be, so just reach out to them for five minutes. That expectation for enough time is the single reason you haven’t talked in years.
Try to get a crew together and get on a zoom call.
If you can spend all week staring at a group of millennials judging you for not understanding their plight, you can certainly video chat with the people who talked you out of getting that tribal tattoo.
Find a way to meet up in real life.
Maybe you moved halfway across the country, still I guarantee there is someone near you that you like more than hand lotion…reach out and make them get a coffee with you and take it from there.
Now if you’re a needy Italian American who can’t move more than a mile from his parents like me, chances are so many of your high school friends literally live closer to you than the mall. Get that crew together and go out once a month. I started doing that in June religiously and it is by far one of my favorite days of the month
I can hear you groaning.
“High School?, why would I want to relive that?”
Because you can’t run from yourself, so stop trying…sure some people were pricks but how can you judge someone who was at a place in their life where five short years earlier they still believed in Santa Claus. Stop indicting people from when they were children, remember what you all shared culturally as Gen X-ers growing up in the eighties rocking out in the nineties and take the time to get to know the adult version. We have so much in common and so much we’ve been through and I think you would be shocked at how happy everyone is to see you.
And if you’re still that apprehensive, remember, we’re in our late forties and nobody looks good so we’re all ugly now.
Do steps 1-4 forever.
Okay so if I haven’t convinced you, this is my parting thought.
As a middle-aged person (or at any age) what do you treasure the most? I’ll tell you, it’s your memories of your family and your friends…and here’s the good news, you still have time to go out and make more, so do it.
And by all means, stay the hell away from Dianne and Dave.