Mid-twenties are a strange time of life.
You’re either the youngest or the oldest person in most situations. At work: Youngest. Volunteering at youth group: Oldest. Grocery shopping on a Thursday night: Youngest. Trying to stay awake in a crowded pub post-midnight: Oldest. It’s hard out there for a quarter-century gangster.
The one refuge from this crazy, upsidedown-pineapple-cake-existence are your friends. And hopefully you’ve got a group of friends that are Your People. Your Family.
I am fortunate enough that in my post-collegiate years, I have an extraordinary group of friends I call The Athens Family. We navigated the tumultuous seas of Early Adulthood with ease… throwing dinner parties and commiserating together over long hours in the office/grad school/unemployment. We worked and played hard. We were adventurous. We were hilarious. I didn’t sleep much and believed (for the most part, minus those weak moments of crying alone/lying on the floor) that life after college could be awesome if you’re surrounded by awesome people. And it felt true.
Last August, one of my best friends from college and a staple of The Athens Family moved away to Nashville to pursue her calling as a high school counselor. Shortly after, one of the AthFam couples found out they were pregnant. And another couple got engaged. A handful moved to Atlanta for Big City Jobs. Then another couple got engaged. And slowly but surely, things changed.
We didn’t hang out as much. We didn’t party as much, drink as much, make dinner together as much. Though we still did those things, they were few and far between. Our motto for The Athens Family had once been “See You Tomorrow!” since we all saw each other quite literally every day. Soon it turned into “Are You Going to Be Here This Weekend?”
Those last few months of 2011 were hard for me. I turned 25. Most of my friends from college were together in Atlanta. My friends in Athens were moving into different stages of life—engagement, marriage, babies. I felt a little bit stalled out here. I poured myself into my other areas of life: work, youth group, watching television. I debated whether I should stay in Athens at all.
Then my dear friend (and future roomie!) snapped me out of it. 2012 would be The Year of Being Social. We would make new friends— not to replace our old friends, but build. We would say YES to hanging out more. We would say YES to going to parties where we didn’t know a lot of people. We would say YES to hosting Supper Clubs and going to the movies on a weeknight. We would say YES to living up our twenties with the people we love and the people we might grow to love. The Year of Being Social, HUZZAH!
But making new friends is hard. Really hard.
I’ve had the same tight-knit group of friends for so long I’d forgotten what it looks like. Last week, Future Roomie and I watched endless episodes of Happy Endings (one of the funniest shows on television I tell you) and at the end of one scene, the characters so hilariously and perfectly summed up my feelings about The Year of Being Social:
DAVE: None of us has made a new friend in, like, 11 years.
BRAD: I wouldn’t even know how to do that. What do you do, just, like, walk up to random people and go, ‘Hey, blah, blah, blah. Sports?’
PENNY: The only new person I wanna meet is my husband.
All this to say… I shared this Frosted Orange from The Varsity with one of my new friends of 2012 and it felt awesome. It felt like Adulthood and Summer and Being Spontaneous and Being Social and Sunshine and Youth all at the same time.