Lately, I’ve noticed something terrifying. I am officially a grown up. It’s not just the whole Emerging Adulthood thing. Although certainly having a husband and a son, a career, many many bills, and a place of our own helps to hammer the message home.
It’s other more worrying aspects of adulthood. I get a little nervous when I see a group of rowdy youths, and I refer to them as ‘youths’ in my head. I get really annoyed if I accidently end up out too late in the afternoon and have to share the bus with school kids of any number. I cant even picture myself going into Miss Selfridge or Top Shop, and have started to think of Dorothy Perkins as a entirely acceptable place to browse. I have less and less interest in sweets, which leads to me being even more disinterested in things like Simchat Torah and getting the bill in restaurants. And last year, I’ll even admit to having a subscription to Prima. (Gasp!)
Yep, I’m boring. I’m aware that I’m still young, dont get me wrong. I’m loving being a young mum, renting our flat, being at the beginning of my career and having a lot of fun with it all, but there are no two ways about it, the teenage years are far behind me, in age as well as mindset.
As great as this is, I have trouble working out how to relate to people in a ‘grown up’ way. Not actual grown ups, I have no problem talking to friends parents, or older colleagues in my office, or relatives and the like. It’s the people the same age as me that I’m struggling with. You know, my friends, or potential friends.
The longstanding ones are not an issue. We have been friends for so long that we have an easy relationship, strong bonds, great banter and deep chats. But new people… I’m lost. No longer can we dive straight into what my 16 year old self called “proper chats” where you can discuss everything and everyone with no holding back and very little self consciousness. We’re grown up, and as sad as it may be to lose that passion, we dont do that anymore. But similarly, there is no space in our lives for superficial chatter and fake smiles that barely break the surface of a real conversation. Who has time for that when we have shopping and carpools and meetings and cooking?
So we’re looking for something in the middle. That easy ‘come for a meal this weekend’, that friendly ‘let’s have a playdate this week’, the wave from across shul that means we have someone to sit with, or the real conversation that makes the weekly shop and the grouchy toddler that much more enjoyable to deal with.
See? I know what the goal is. But I dont really know how to find it. Without the intimate discussions of our teenage years, is it just a matter of waiting until the on the surface words become something more real all on their own? If I keep inviting you over, will it eventually become effortless, not just for us to be couples friends, but actual friends as well?
Or perhaps those days are just behind us. And the relationships I have with my best friends and my husband are not only sufficient, but more than most people have, in their history and their simplicity, and at the same time, incredible complexity. And if I have that, and am oh so grateful for that, then the on the surface chatter, and the basic conversation which seems to fill 90% of grown up interaction, should really be enough for me. Maybe it is true, that we make our real friends in high school, and in a world where we have hundreds of online ‘friends’ and yet a mere few to open up to, the rest of our lives we just need people to spend time with.
I’d like to know the answer to this one. Maybe I’m looking for something that doesnt exist, or just going about it the wrong way.. But how does one make ‘Grown up friends’?