Earlier I posted an excerpt of a response of mine to a Facebook thread by Scott Jordan. This is the full response which encapsulates my thoughts I’ve been trying to put into an essay form for eons without success.
Think of that person you bump into at the mall. Here’s a sentence that is always uttered: “We should get together.” Yes, we “should.” They you part company until the next accidental meeting. It’s about making time. People love to stay “I don’t have the time” but that’s not the case. We “have” all the time between birth and death. It’s about how we choose to spend our time. We don’t “have” time; we “make” time. So when that person in the mall says we “should” get together, whip out a calendar and say “yes, what works for you?” and set a date.
I have 3 friends whom I individually suggested we get together for a beer one evening about three weeks ago yet it hasn’t happened…my fault. I have 5 children, work a full time job, work side projects, and volunteer in a scout troop and a scout pack as well as occasionally giving time to our local zoo, the Epilepsy Foundation, and a couple of other organizations. I have plenty of “excuses” but the truth of the matter is most evenings, I “make” time to lounge around the house with my wife watching television. In essence, I have grown selfish, complacent and self-absorbed.
I think in our single digits we play and play hard and that is good.
In our teen years we fight angst and work through cliques and social situations.
The twenties are great. These are the years of using the knowledge learned in the teens to just have fun. We aren’t trying to game the system or social climb yet. We are comfortable with ourselves and willing to give unconditional time.
The thirties are either aggressive corporate ladder climbing where “who you know matters” so people suddenly gain “value” and therefore you must selectively choose who to spend time with based upon how much you can gain from them OR you have found a comfortably place in your life and are just doing the pattern which like the NYT times article states doesn’t include refilling your pool of friends as it shrinks.
The forties, at least for me, have a huge family first focus. While friends are important, family has to come before all as you realize your children are growing up fast.
I cannot yet comment on the fifties and above without playing off comedic stereotypes.
Then there is this social media stuff. I fear some have succumbed to believe that reading Facebook or Twitter replace the need for physical interaction. I love social media but it is a keyhole peek into someone’s life and may be a false picture. Nothing replaces a hug and a laugh.
[Source, Facebook, Scott Jordan in response to Scott Jordan’s post, Is it just me or does it seem that the older you get the smaller your circle of close friends gets?]
See also: NYT: Friends of a Certain Age, Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30?