Misfit Toys

I’m not one to use my blog for venting too often as I find it too much like the social media drama I left behind when I quit Facebook almost two years ago.  That said I have had a very tough day emotionally for a wide variety of reasons (including hormones) and felt I needed to use my blog as an outlet.  Apologies to those of you who much prefer the running related posts, I’m sure I will snap out of this soon enough and return to my usual running writing.

I’ve read various articles over the years about loneliness being an unaddressed health concern in this country.  With so many people working 40+ hours a week, kids being over-scheduled with activities and the general disconnect of people from one another it’s no wonder.  That said, I have noticed many people I know have a best friend or friends who they regularly spend time with.  By regular I would say around once a month or at least several times a year.  The type of friends who are there for important life events as well as casual fun ones.

Unfortunately Jason and I have not been so fortunate as to have found these type of friends in either area we have lived.  The couple we connect best with lives near Chicago, a high school bestie of mine, Alecia, and her husband, Ryan.  We visited them in 2016, Alecia visited us twice in the past four years (thanks to work trips bringing her nearer to PA) and the four of us took a cruise together in 2017.  We planned to visit them fall of last year, but when our flight was cancelled and rescheduled until evening we realized we wouldn’t even get to spend 2 full days together.  We decided to nix the trip completely as it wasn’t worth the money and they completely agreed.

As I put it to Alecia today via a text vent – I often feel like we’re in this awkward world of not wanting kids, not wanting to climb a corporate ladder, not Trumper enough to live in this area but too nature loving to want to live in a city.  I know Jason wants to move but I feel we’ll be in that boat no matter where we live.  We’re just misfits.

It’s hard to make friends as an adult and even harder to find couples to befriend.  Most people our age are consumed by debt, children, work or all three.  We’ve struggled in vain to branch out and connect to people through other channels in hopes of “getting lucky” and clicking with another pair.  This has been especially challenging for Jason who is naturally an introvert.

We began attending a Unitarian Universalist church in November, but over the months decided it wasn’t the right fit for us.  Like most churches I’ve attended, the majority of attendees while very nice, consisted of older people and families.  They were certainly more liberal than most people in our area, but actually bordered too far left in terms of political activism, something that Jason and I don’t regularly participate in beyond my involvement with Citizens Climate Lobby.

We run with a group sometimes, but it consists of my dad, one of his close friends (father to guys I attended high school with), my hairdresser’s husband and and an older guy.  While they’re all great and fun to run with, they’re not exactly looking to hang out regularly with two 30-somethings.  We usually all attend a pizza and trivia night once a year which is fun, but not something we get to do regularly.

We go through cycles of contentment with it just being the two of us and periods of irritation that we have no friends.  We recently visited Kennett Square for a day trip and I saw a poster for a murder mystery art stroll and immediately thought of how fun that would be to attend if Alecia and Ryan lived in the area.  At those points I’m reminded of how expensive airfare is and how far a drive Chicago would be if either of us could even handle the insanity of its highways.  That’s when the loneliness hits.

Texting is a wonderful modern way of staying connected.  Phone calls and hearing someone’s voice do help to make you feel closer to them.  At the end of the day though nothing beats face to face chatting and laughing be it over a nice dinner or a board game.  In a world where we can so easily connect to so many, it’s incredibly hard to find the deeper connections and makes for some very lonely times in life.

Do you have close adult friends?  Do you and your significant other have couple friends?

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About TracyNicole

Runner. Writer. Reader. Environmental advocate. Fascinated by the ocean, waterfalls and Christmas lights. Inspired by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elon Musk.
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10 Responses to Misfit Toys

  1. I appreciate your honesty. I agree, it’s tough and since I’m older than you are, I’ll tell you it doesn’t get any easier the older you get either, at least not yet. Where I live and work, there are a lot of people who come into the area for short periods of time (say 3-5 years) and move to other areas of the country. This is common especially for new scientists (if you’re familiar with the whole post-doc system you know what I’m talking about). Since I’m a scientist, I’ve met and become friends with many people over the years who have been in our lab for a few years than moved away for a new job. It’s been very hard for me to make and keep friends locally. I really only have a handful that I’m close to and can hang out with my husband. I’ve thought about joining a local running club but just haven’t. I could also join more volunteer groups and possibly meet people that way, but again, I haven’t. Perhaps someday.

    • TracyNicole says:

      I often wonder if some of the loneliness issue is fueled by what you’re describing, people moving so often. It certainly makes it more challenging to feel close to people when they’re physically much farther away. While I’m grateful to have maintained my friendship with Alecia I certainly wish she still lived in this area! Coworkers are another challenge as often you do get close with them and then something changes it be a move or just a job change and there goes that friendship. I had a great group of coworker friends years ago in college, but we all grew apart with time/maturity. I also worked with a guy when I lived in Scranton who was the best work friend I could ever ask for, we clicked in so many ways it’s almost as if we had a shared brain. We both moved out of the area and I’ve tried to keep in touch via text but he stopped answering back. It gets to the point where you just get tired of trying, that you feel as if even if you make some friends they’ll eventually leave so what’s the point, so I totally get your delay in looking into other avenues to find people. Are you close to extended family? I wish my sister and her husband clicked with Jason and me well enough to do more things together. Once in a blue moon we may go out to dinner, but their interests and lifestyle differ greatly from ours.

      Also what area of NC are you in? Jason was sending me houses to look at in Greensboro because he couldn’t believe how cheap they were. We were finding 3 bedroom 2 bath houses that are newer than our house with bigger yards for roughly the same price as what we paid for our 2 bedroom 1 bath. Not that we need a bigger house, but a bigger yard would be nice and it looked like there was a lot of culture/restaurants in the area.

      • All of my extended family is in other states at least several hours away, so that’s not an option for us. I think I would hang out with my sister-in-law, but I pretty much see her once a year and text every now and then.
        I’m in the Raleigh area but that’s only about an hour away from Greensboro so I’m somewhat familiar with the area. From what I’ve seen traffic can be horrendous in Greensboro, but I guess some of that depends on how far you live from your job and the other places you drive, so that may not be an issue for some people. It seems like a nice, clean, safe area, though, and they do have a lot of restaurants and events going on throughout the year. The weather in August sucks but our winters are very mild, if you aren’t a big fan of winter. Feel free to send me an email @runningtotravel on gmail if you have more specific questions.
        Donna

      • TracyNicole says:

        That’s a bummer about having family so far away though having them close doesn’t always make for regular outings either. Jason’s dad and stepmom are a little over an hour away and we usually only see them at Christmas despite us mentioning getting together to do different things. They seem really into spending time with the people in their retirement community. My extended family we see a bit more often for cookouts and such, but again most are tied up with kids to want to do anything else.

        I saw that Greensboro isn’t far from Raleigh or Charlotte which I thought would make it a nice location. Working from home I’m so spoiled in not dealing with traffic much that I think I’ve lost patience for it so that could be an issue! Thank you for the feedback; if Jason or I think of any questions for you regarding the state I’ll be sure to email!

  2. I’m with you. I feel like I have a lot of acquaintances, but not a lot of real adult friends. My husband and I had a great Bible study group when we lived in Indiana and through that program we would get together with several other couples all the time, but then we moved to VA. Now it’s been four years and we haven’t had the time to reach out and make those kind of connections. Our spare time goes to my in-laws who are nice, but it’s not the same. I get together with one other writer friend about once or twice a month to talk about writing (mostly), and I cherish those moments.

    • TracyNicole says:

      Agreed, acquaintances are plentiful but close friends, not so much. That is a bummer to have had such a good group and had to give it up. Did you move for work or your in laws or some other reason? I agree time with family can be nice but it’s not like having another couple who are good friends. That’s great you can see a friend that regularly! I have a coworker friend who I visit once very few months, she has an almost 2 year old who consumes her life. I would be happy if Jason and I had another couple to just do an activity once a month or ever other month with to change things up.

  3. swosei12blog says:

    I think you may have commented my post with a similar theme. And, I agree with everything you mentioned in your post. I think as adults you have to work 2-3 times as hard to start and maintain a new relationship with people. Have you checked out meetup.com to find new friends with common interests? I know some folks have integrated into new social circles by volunteering.

    • TracyNicole says:

      I believe I did as well. It seems like you have to exert more effort yet there’s a higher risk because people move, change jobs, have kids, etc. which can all throw off the friendship. I have not looked into that website, I will have to check it out. I agree volunteering is an option, I have met wonderful people working with Citizens Climate Lobby though most of them are fairly older than Jason and me and don’t live overly close so those things pose a barrier. Not that we’re against having friends who are older, but it would be nice to have another 30 or 40 something year old couple to spend time with.

      • swosei12blog says:

        I have the reverse problem. I seem to be grouped up with people younger than me because most people my age have kids. Sorry, I don’t do “let’s meet at the park so we can watch my kids play” hangouts.

      • TracyNicole says:

        Hahaha are you at least being invited to the park? I don’t even get that far… I messaged a coworker friend last week to see if her family was going to the local carnival figuring I could tag along and she’s like oh my dad and I took the kids last night, sorry! Like yep, no one thinks about poor lonely Tracy to invite. I mean yea I would prefer to have another couple to hang out with, but once in awhile any type of company even if it involves people’s children would be tolerable.

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