Each time we transition from one season to the next, we feel the change in the weather and we adjust accordingly…stocking up hats and gloves, or shedding down to our swim suits. Activities and interests change and availability to friends differs. This is not unlike the seasons that we experience in our lives, albeit not ones that last only three months and are quite as predictable.
As I look back on my life, I’ve had many “seasons”.
My first being my toddler years (what I can remember of them) and into elementary school where I forged my first friendships and started to develop my personality.
Then into middle school and onto high school where for me it included Valley Girl talk, tuck and roll jeans, an overuse of Aqua Net hair spray and strengthening relationships with friends. For many, your friends likely changed over these years, but for me I grew up in a town where my graduating class was only 44 kids, so for the most part the core group was the same from Kindergarten through high school!
As we pass through these seasons, into the next, our interests change/mature and more friends are woven in. Like the college roommates that helped me through my parents’ divorce, or ordered take out with me to assure the freshman weight gain would be a shared experience.
And my co-workers at my first job that helped me navigate a new city and profession and served as my surrogate family 1,500 miles from home.
After having my first child, it was the playgroup moms who were as sleep deprived as me. We spent countless hours sharing our worries and concerns as new moms and compared recipes for mixing the best baby cereal.
Slowly you add more kids and they grow and you add in preschool parents, and a love for children’s bands and Legos, and wearing yoga pants has become a fashion statement. It goes on and on.
I have seasons to look forward to (or dread) where my kids navigate their way into middle school and in and out of high school. Moving away from home and forging their way into college, leaving me to find something to do with my idle hands. Then into retirement for us and figuring out how we want to live our later years.
I see so many articles posted online regarding the desperation of new moms and how tired they are and how this isn’t what they expected, or step by step directions on helping your child navigate middle school. I have friends that I know feel stuck where they are and see no help in sight.
But what everyone needs to remember is that you (and your family members) are in the midst of a season. This too shall pass. If you are in a tight spot, know that it won’t last forever—there is no such thing as a colicky Kindergartner. And if you are having the time of your life, savor it, because harder times may lie ahead.
And if you don’t recognize the fact that you are passing through seasons, each one having a set of interests that made so much sense then, and friends that were paramount to that time, you are at risk of trying to hold onto all of them equally—and as a result your arms are likely too full to accept what you need right now. Not to mention an incredibly long holiday card list!
I look back at all of the friends I’ve had in my life with such fondness and great appreciation–they were all instrumental in some part of my life. And a few from each season are still some of my closest friends. But for so many of them, we no longer share the same space/zip code, let alone interests and lives. As a result, we have drifted apart and while we may still be friends on Facebook, that doesn’t mean that it makes sense to carve out time to get together when we are in proximity to each other. We literally would have nothing to talk about! It’s like saying you are going to put on legwarmers in 1980 and never take them off because you will love them as much today as you will 25 years from now. It’s not realistic.
Just as I’ve let go my love for Strawberry Shortcake, I’ve let go of the notion that I have to hold every person I’ve ever met close at hand. I also acknowledge that my seasons so far, as I look back on them, have all been awesome, even when they seemed really horrible at the time and I can’t wait to see where the wind takes me next!