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December 14, 2012

"What! You too? I thought I was the only one!"

Said to me by many: As nice as it is to have friends, the older you get, the more likely the number of girlfriends you have will decrease substantially. Have you ever watched Dawson's Creek? I cannot say that I was a "Super Fan", however the few episodes I tuned into, there was one quote that always stuck in my mind for some reason. I have no idea why. Turns out, at the age of 27 (a good 10 years later) I am finding myself completely disagreeing with that quote that I prepared myself for as I got older. Here it is:
"It's funny how you can still love a person, but you stop needing them like you used to."
In my opinion, that's crap! Of course I need my friends! Yes, I've graduated college. Yes, I have a full time job. Yes, I am married. Yes, we are going to add children to that equation in the future. Yes, my friends are all going through the same life changes. But I still NEED my girlfriends.  Over the past six months after getting married, I found myself so incredibly down. Don't get me wrong. I love my husband. I love being married. I love having my best friend around 24/7.  I just came to the conclusion that I wasn't happy with not having the people I love in my life as much as I used to.

In high school, almost every day after school, me, Emily, Libby and Stefanie would pick a place to grab after school snacks. We would have movie nights. We would dress up and go shopping or do each other's makeup and hair. In college, I lived with my best friends. I could walk 10 steps to the duplex attached to mine and see my sorority friends night or day. Emily S. and I always had our long heart to hearts that always included tons of inspirational quotes. Jessica and I would go for daily/nightly runs on the trail in Columbia. Jeanna and I would read books together and go to church every Sunday. We would have game nights. We would watch The Bachelor together. We would cook dinner together. (This was not always successful for Kathleen and Speno as usually the fire department ended up at our place after them trying to make homemade crab rangoon.) Then, I graduated and moved to St. Louis for a job. After college we all got full time jobs, but me, Fritsche, Speno, Potts, Pollock (Yes, we called them by their last names), Kasey, Brigid, Kathleen and Christa always found a couple nights a month to get together for happy hour, dinner or have an annual Christmas party. A few years later after moving back to Kansas City, I would call up my friends Libby and Tara and at the spur of the moment, decide to go to a Rodeo or go to Worlds of Fun and bungee jump. Taylor would come back to visit and we would get together with Whitney and Abbey and have the time of our lives. I had annual sushi dates with my friends Jessica and Kate. I could go on and on. Bottom line, my point is, that I miss my friends.  I have had several conversations with my husband about this. "Am I the only one that feels this way?" I would ask myself. "Do they not miss me like I miss them?" Truth is, no matter how much life gets in the way, I am pretty sure they all miss those days and wish those experiences I listed above happened more often. I know this because the more and more I talk with my friends that have moved to New York, or Denver, Chicago or Tennessee, the more I realize that they are just as lonely and homesick for friends and for me as I am for them. And while my friends are far way in St. Louis and all those places I listed above, I am still in Kansas City always thinking about them and how they are doing. I may not have the time to call as often as I would like but I always miss them.

So, I couldn't help but wonder. (Yes, this is totally my Carrie Bradshaw moment.) Just because we grow older, does that really mean we have to grow apart? In my opinion, the most beautiful discovery that true friends can make is that they can grow seperately without growing apart. At 27, I finally have this epiphany. Yes, schedules compress, priorities change and people often become pickier in what they want in their friends...and thats okay. I want to continue to try to grow closer to the friends I currently have but I have decided that it is also okay to restock my pool of friends as well.

So, as I figured out why I was unhappy I obviously had to come up with a solution. I will continue to call my friends even if they don't have time to pick up or call back. I at least want them to know I am still thinking about them. I bought a Groupon to do Yoga with my friend Kathleen. I have never done Yoga and don't get to see Kathleen very much. I am very excited about this. I can't tell you how excited I get when I get to have a phone date with Libby in Denver or Stefanie in Memphis. I love getting texts from my friends in St. Louis or a text from Tara in New York. It makes my day. But, I'm also learning how to make new friends.

Lately, on Wednesday nights, my new friend Ashley and I have had dates. Yes, dates. Both of our husbands are in ministry therefore their Wednesday nights consist of working with youth groups at church. Last week, we did something as simple as grabbing a light dinner and each picking out a lipstick at MAC. This week, we ate vegetable soup and watched a British period movie (which we both seem to be obsessed with) called The Duchess. I can't tell you how nice it is just to have her company. I love getting to know new people and discovering different things we have in common.

So, here is the point. As you grow older and those "friend sessions" become few and far between, don't take it personal because it isn't. That's life. Never give up. Instead, make more of an effort. I know I will be.

Here is what I am looking forward to over the next month:

Christmas party at Jessica's on Saturday. Seeing Suzy for the first time since her return from The World Race. (She has been spreading the word of the Lord all over the world for a year!) My Wednesday night "dates" with Ashley. New Year's with our new "couple" friends. Yoga nights with Kathleen after the first of the year. Watching movies with my friend Taylor who is recovering from surgery. A weekend trip to see Taylor in Des Moines. A weekend trip to see Libby in Denver. A vacation to New York with Tyler and an opportunity to see Tara. Hopefully, I can plan something to St. Louis to visit my sorority sisters. Until then, here are some pictures of my friends that I won't give up on because I refuse to let life get in the way.