(us trying to find someone to facetime with midday yesterday but no one answered!)
During my separation and following an annulment from my first husband, I liked to spend a lot of time alone.
I have always been a fairly social being...outgoing, talkative, I like people...but after the storm I had gone through, quiet is what I craved. I needed a lot of time to think and heal and ignore and just be however I needed to be. I couldn't "act" like I was feeling something I wasn't...and frankly I didn't want to. I was fine being alone. It felt good.
I think this worried some people. They wondered if I was OK, or really struggling...I was living alone too which was great for me but so many friends and family that loved me wanted to help take care of me in closer proximity...but honestly I just didn't feel like I needed it.
Then one day something changed.
I was having a phone conversation with one of my dearest friends, Nick. He must have been asking why I was so holed up and I am sure I explained how great it felt to just be on my own with calm and peace in my home. I didn't really think I needed to be with anyone. His response was imprinted on my brain:
"Rachel, you may not think you need other people right now, but other people need you".
What?! Could it be? What in the world could I give anyone in the state I was in? I was an 80yr old trapped in a 24yr old body. I was grieving, I was sad, I was a wreck. I had permanant bags under my eyes that held a store of tears. Someone needed me? I thought on that long and hard.
Slowly but surely I felt strong enough to show myself more and more and actually GIVE of myself again. I guess I felt like so much had been taken from me that maybe I was a just a shell....I was wrong.
Here I am, 11yrs later, living in a drastically different scenerio but truthfully sometimes it is still hard to find the balance between alone time and social time. Now the issue isn't about whether I WANT to socialize but how to find time...and how to prioritize between family, work, new friends and old friends.
I am sure other self employed/working from home people can relate. I have no co-workers. My husband doesn't either. I have moved about once a year for the past 10yrs. My work schedule involves a lot of travel and weekends away....and to top it off I am a new mom. I have a toddler and newborn on the way.
So I find myself at the ripe ole age of 34 trying to find my happy medium with making new friends and keeping up with the ones I have. I need to find my village to help raise my family and so many of my village members seems to live far far away from me. Sometimes this stinks and sometimes I am too busy to even think about it.
So I don't have anything groundbreaking to impart...I just wanted to say out loud that this issue has been on my mind in hopes that others can relate.
In an effort to help in this one area we are trying to reach out more to friends even if it means keeping plans simple. Meeting at the park, ordering take-out instead of cooking an elaborate meal.
We are also trying to priortize going out a couple times a month with friends on our own..going to a movie with girlfriends or Grant sufing it up with some pals.
I find that making plans with friends at least once a week fills the void and if it happens more than that (without making me feel like i'm being pulled too thin) even better.
Any of you have any advice or suggestions on the best way you have balanced your personal life and social life? I know this is so subjective but I would love to hear how you all feel about making new friends as a young family. How much time with others is enough time? Do you let it happen organically or do you have to really try?
And before you all think I have NO social life (although at times it can feel like it) I have AMAZING top of the tier friends. Lots of them live far away...which is what happens as you grow older and your world expands. I also feel like I have amazing support with online friends. Sounds kind of weird but instagram and all the other social newtworking sites really do help me feel more connected at times. Maybe I have been alone all day with a baby and just need to say it outloud/online. I post a photo and someone else says "me too". Feels good.
I guess what I am trying to say is thank you to friends who are navigating this phase of life with me...and new ones that might get roped along for the journey.