Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Reruns: Too Old to Move

(original post-date: April 27, 2011)

I cannot imagine leaving Los Angeles.

And not because I love it, which I do.

It’s just that, the older you get, the more difficult it is to make friends.

Remember how easy it was back in childhood? All you needed was a common age, and the deal was sealed.

Are you six? Me too! Let’s go play!

Can you imagine doing that at an adult age?

Hi! Are you fifty-three? Me too! Let’s have lunch!

Ain’t gonna happen.

When my then-husband and I moved to L.A., back in May 1990, it never occurred to me that I was leaving behind some well-established friendships and that I would have to start all over again. Sure, I had a few people out here who I knew, and among them were two I knew quite well, but… that’s barely a starter set.

Looking back at several of my early L.A. friends – people I thought I’d be close to for a long time – I realize that I was going through a process, and I would have to get to the end of that process before I would find the folks who were likely to last.

I remember a co-worker at my first staff job out here. We’ll call her Sheila. I’d been at the nonprofit organization for about a year before she got a position there. Our then-friendship is such ancient history at this point that I cannot explain the “attraction,” but I do remember always feeling as if she and I were both Hayley Mills, playing some equally misbehaving girls in a prep school movie…

I grew out of Sheila before I left the place where we both worked, and a few years later, I was at another nonprofit.

There, I became friends with two women, both of whom were a bit younger than I. We’ll call them Dee and Dora. I bonded with both of them, and we genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. Again, I felt I had embarked on some friendships that would last. But they didn’t pan out as I had expected, and in retrospect, my memory of the times I spent with each or both of them centered around a certain amount of righteousness. A desire to be correct.


With Sheila, I was reliving my adolescence.

With Dee and Dora, I was reliving my twenties.

I was 32 when I arrived in Los Angeles, and I was too new to that decade to know what it meant.

Where friendships were concerned, I had to back up.

I had to start over.

I had to relive a few stages of interactive behavior before I would find the comfort of my present. I had to work through a new growth so that I could reach the moment when I began to know who I was and how I needed to be treated.

That moment began in my mid-40s.

In terms of friendships, I’ve been in the comfort zone ever since.


Sioux said...

Katie--Your level of self-awareness...wouldn't the world be a better place if we were all as introspective as you obviously are?

There are lots of good things about being in your 50's. Crepe-paper skin on your décolletage. Wobbly upper arms. Droopy boobs--these are NOT the perks. However, being comfortable with yourself, understanding what is truly important, and being able to shrug off the unimportant stuff...those ARE the good things about this phase.

shelly said...

I loved this deep post on friendships. They are far and few in between. And it really is true, you can usually count your real friends on one hand.

Hugs and chocolate,