Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Outdoor Friends at 40 (And Beyond)?

These adorable little people are the main reason their parents cannot maintain new friendships.
Although, at least they are now big enough to portage a canoe for their parents. 
Aside from being exhausted and having to constantly work on my weight, being 40 is pretty cool.  When I encounter problems that just a few years ago caused me fits (and loss of sleep), I just knock them over and continue on my way.   But as most parents know, especially those without the benefit of local parents of their own, it can be a lonely time too.  All of our old friends have kids now, too, which means that most of our time together is "kid time together."   Despite the fact that many of us have known each other for the better part of two decades, have drank together and traveled together and everything else, we only get time to talk about adult stuff inbetween "DO NOT THROW BRICKS AT HIM!" and "IF YOU JUMP OUT OF THAT TREE, I'M NOT TAKING YOU TO THE HOSPITAL!"

And of course, there's the reality that most of us have changed a bit in 20 years, and if it were not for workplaces-in-common and kids-in-common, we probably wouldn't be as close as we are.   The logical next step is to admit to ourselves, "Each of us needs some new friends."  That sure sounds easy.   But of course, your new friends probably have kids of their own to manage, and probably old friends of their own to manage.   Now that most everyone at our age is either a "director-of-something" or a "manager-of-something," free time is at a bit of a premium.  So where is there to go? RETIREMENT.  At some level of seriousness, it seems like a common denominator in making new adult friends is whether you have been able to retire with a pension.   I don't have a pension and probably won't be able to retire until 75 (2049 or so), so I don't think I can wait for that.

This is where this blog post becomes basically useless - the answer is that I don't know how to do this.  The "new grownup friend" gig is not dissimilar from a romantic relationship in that both people have to be willing to sacrifice some quality time to build the relationship.   Hopefully, your kids are compatible; that seems to help.  The photo above is from a local, Sunday morning kayak trip with a new friend of mine.  "New Buddy" and I got very little real adult time together but we shared a fun memory with the kids, which is a cool thing indeed. We've known each other for years but hadn't spent time together until recently.   And I've put in less effort than New Buddy.  We make plans, I hedge toward bailing out, and he pushes me to keep my commitments.  I normally am not a flake.  I'm just busy and tired - so is he.

But as I finish writing this, I'm sending him a FB private message,

"Got any flexibility to fish this week?"

Let's see how it goes.

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