Ten years ago, our lives would have seemed very similar. Some of us had long-term boyfriends, others played the field and a few of us weren't ready to date yet. We came from different backgrounds, different ethnicities yet spent 6 or so hours at school each day, talked together in classes and all experienced our various forms of teenage angst. While we were all different and unique, so much of our circumstance was identical. We were on the same life path.
Walking through the grocery store with SB, doing our weekly shop, we're in the chilled aisle tossing up what toppings to put on our home-made pizzas. I hear a familiar voice and turn to see a former high-school friend hurtling down the other side of the freezers after two little boys. Through the powers of Facebook, I know that they are her little boys. Somewhere along the track, our paths diverged and she's now the solo mother of two little boys. She looked so frazzled and I like to think that's the reason I didn't approach her. The reality is that confronted with the evidence of how our lives are so different, I honestly don't know what I'd say.
I think it's easier to handle when you stay in touch with people as they transition through life's changes. My dear friend J gets married this weekend and I can safely say I don't think it will change our friendship at all. When close friends have children it definitely changes the dynamic of the friendship, but you handle the change and the friendship continues. It seems that the challenge comes when you re-unite with people you once had so much in common with, only to find that their life is so much different to yours. Many of the girls I played tennis with in high school are now married mothers. That's not something I can identify yet. It seems that our friendship exists on a merely superficial level because we can't vocalise how our life paths have affected and changed the people that we used to know.
It struck me at J's wedding rehearsal yesterday that this is the time where differences are incredibly profound. The wedding party (all mid 20s) comprises of a solo mother, a woman in a long-term relationship (me), a married man and a soon-to-be divorced man. These are the times when everything changes, when we make choices that affect the rest of our lives - to be together or to go it alone, to create new life or just to enjoy each other. There's no right path for everyone and we try and keep the honesty in our friendships with those we are close to.
Any tips for how to restart friendships with old friends when what you have in common is the past?