Monday, January 8, 2018

1.3 - Lost and Uncommon Friends

I’ve thought a lot about friends the last few months. As a kid, friendship is pretty simple. You call someone up to see if they want to play and have your mom or dad drive you over to their place. You run around, or bike around town until you get sick of each other. Sometimes you sleep over and stay up way too late playing video games and talking about girls you like. If a kid moved away, you most likely lost touch with them.  Up until about age 13, almost all of my friendships were in this vein.

As an adult, it’s much more complicated. Romantic partners must fit into the equation. The time constraints are different. It’s hard to find places to meet new friends. You don’t have nearly as much energy as you used to.  And distance doesn’t matter as much anymore.

What exactly is a friend as an adult anyway? We have our Facebook friends. God bless my 694 Facebook friends, but I’m not sending you all birthday cards.

I’ve thought about this a lot because my friends who I consider close at age 30 are slightly different than those I considered close at age 25, or age 20. At the core, I’ve got about half-dozen friends who I know I can count on, but the dozen or so who I keep in regular contact with have changed.

There are those friends who I thought I would remain close friends with for a long time but have ended up losing touch with. I’m a little sad about one friend, in particular, We were roommates a while back and we went through some pretty significant changes in life together. We visited once since I left his home state of Maryland. But over time fewer and fewer calls and emails were not returned, and communication just dropped off. He pops up on Facebook every so often, but it’s not the same.

On the other hand, I have a few friends who I’ve kept in regular (or at least semi-regular) contact with even if we perceivably didn’t have a strong base of our friendship. Shout out to my friend Chris, who I text multiple times a week to talk soccer or about the Ball family. I don’t remember the last time I saw Chris in person and I can’t remember any significant life moment I went through with him, other than one or two classes. Yet, I frequently text him about Premier League goals or “Ball in the Family” updates. It feels like we hang out just as much as my friends close by, but he lives in Boston.

There are my friends who I know I will stick with for the rest of my life. I invest in those relationships heavily, just to make sure we don’t fall too far behind. And then there are those friends where things just seem to align. You match in communication skills, you have similar interests that your passionate about, and you both get something out of it. I don’t think there’s a specific formula for a long-distance friendship, but that comes pretty close.

Three things I’m thankful for:

Bilingual mass - Yesterday, I went to a bilingual Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary. I loved it. While the Basilica is a wonderful community, filled with many amazing people who are passionate about justice and helping others, a good portion of the community is middle class and white. The community invited our sister parish, Church of the Ascension in North Minneapolis to celebrate with us. That parish has a large Hispanic population, so I was in the minority yesterday. I got chills when hearing people saying the Our Father in both Spanish and English. I also loved giving the sign of peace. It was a powerful reminder that no matter what language you speak, you can find points of commonality.

Being the Youngest - On Friday, I went to go see Davina & the Vagabonds at a blues club in St. Paul. I noticed that my date and I were one of the youngest people there. We also saw “The Darkest Hour” - about Winston Churchill and the Battle for Britain - a week earlier. A few weeks earlier, I attended a neighborhood planning meeting where I think I was the only person under 70. I’ve enjoyed all three of these events. I can be a bit of a self-hating millennial at times, but as I’m nearing 30 I’ve begun to realize that I like what I like and I don’t care what people think about it.

Squash - I’ve eaten probably eaten over five pounds of squash in the last few weeks. Pretty much all of it has come from my farm share. I remember hating squash as a kid. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking then. My current favorite dish was to cut up squash, potatoes, rutabagas, and beets and roast them. It’s been especially good with some sausage in there. I’ve also made some soups with my immersion blender. While those are very good, I need to add some other things to them to make it not look like I’m eating baby food. To emphasize my previous point, sometimes you just have your tastes that you enjoy, who cares what you (or your previous self) thinks?

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