I’m not sure when it happened, but I took a good look around and realized I’m surrounded by young adults…who are younger than I am. I’ve been on the bottom of the age heap for so long, I just got used to it. Now I’m right smack dab in the middle. And quite frankly, this annoys me.
It shouldn’t annoy me, of course, and I’m admitting this with shame. But like a dog, I guess I feel like I’ve staked out my territory in this harsh social world, and I’m a bit resentful of these upstarts coming in and acting like they belong here. What to do, for instance, with the 22-year-old girls who show up to parties and flirt with your guy friends? Or the new social cliques forming (without you) in the vestibule after Mass on Sunday mornings? Or worst of all, this heart-sinking sense that I have to, once again, start making the rounds with my hand out and a perky, “Hi, what’s your name…” building all those awkward new friendships?
Ok, so the problem isn’t all the new young adults in the area–it’s my attitude. I’m like the youngest child who doesn’t quite know what to do with herself when Mommy comes home with a brand new baby. Where’s my place now? Well, among many resolutions going into the summer, I am resolved to be better about reaching out and being open to new, younger friends. After all, some of my current best friends are older young adults who were willing to reach out to ME just a couple years ago.
Nothing stays the same. You’d think I’d have gotten used to this by now, but every year it hits me like a new surprise. It’s springtime, and my life and the lives of everyone around me are about to go through a few somersaults again. My roommate and I are moving in the end of May. My younger sister moved to Texas and just got settled in an apartment there. Another sister will be moving to Michigan for grad school, and my brother joined the Navy. Some of my family will be moving to Hawaii for a few months (up to a year) in June. Three dear old school friends will be tying the knot May and June. My very best friend from high school is about to have baby #2 (it’s a girl!). Other friends either have moved or are about to leave the area for work. More of my high school students from church will be graduating and going away. An old roommate will be leaving the area to live at home in New England for the summer before her wedding in the fall. Another dear, dear friend will be joining the Carmelite convent in Brooklyn in the middle of June. Yet another (newer) friend will be leaving the area to join the seminary in St. Louis. It’s telling even in my humdrum routine: I’ve finally had to make the painful decision to retire from piano teaching so I can focus more seriously on my writing. A good thing, but it means no more goofy, musical Saturday mornings with four amazing kids and their beautiful families.
There’s a leap of faith involved in all this change every year. I love the way things have been, and I don’t want to let it all go. But I know, looking back, that it has always been all right. The adjustment period takes a little while, but it’s always, always good. Easy? Heck no. In fact, sometimes it’s just plain hard. But it’s jumping out into the unknown that makes us aware of the hand that holds us.