I woke up this morning very lonely. Although when I had that feeling I was snuggled closely to Andy and my kitty, Anubis, was settled on top of me purring away. But nonetheless, I felt lonely. Images of my childhood friends from Roosevelt, NJ haunted my dreams last night and I awoke longing to see them and have long conversations with them. Long and deep conversations with them. Sure, we had conversations when we were kids. I remember some of the talks got to a deeper level though many were everyday conversations. It didn’t matter because simply my friend’s company and my ability to be with them and talk about anything was so important to me. But now, I envision heart-felt connected conversations with them as adults as if I inhibited my childhood existence with my adult mind. I long to talk to Peri and Elan and Dawn and Kirsten and Nathalie. I long to stroll down the streets of my hometown to one of my friend’s houses. To be able to walk into their home at any time unannounced. To be able to hang out whenever and wherever. Because that is what you do when you are a kid in a small town. That is what you do with good friends who aren’t so busy with life and work and everything that is so planned these days.
Deep connections with friends are different as adults. If you are in a couple relationship and are lucky—like me—you have deep meaningful connection and conversations with your spouse. I am grateful that I have that. And yet I want and need more. I want the connection to girlfriends with whom I can connect without having to schedule days in advance to meet, or schedule weeks in a advance to get coffee together, or schedule even for just a phone call! Spontaneity is difficult. The complexity of everyday commitments gets in the way of relationships. Perhaps this is the reality of adulthood. Perhaps this is the reality of these times in general so therefore also true for kids. We are so busy. Our access to community is so structured.
I live in a small town again like when I was a child. However, I am on a dirt road not directly in the village so walking over to someone’s house is not so easily accomplished. And even if I was in town, could I just stop by someone’s place? I lived in New York City for many years and in a way I felt very connected though again, no one stopped by just to chat. I find that as I read books that take place in small towns—of course they are deeply romanticized stories of big families with gatherings of many generations and lots of friends—I feel deep longing. That is the essential word here. Longing. It is a simple word and yet it conveys an intense emotional feeling of needing to be seen and needed and wanted and connected to others. A yearning, and aching, a desire that I feel deep in my core of being. I itch to wander over to one of my childhood friend’s house and plop down on their couch and talk. I miss you.