I was supposed to have breakfast over the weekend with a group of friends from college. We were really close in college and even in the few years after, but then I got married and moved to a tiny town no one ever heard of, one girl moved downstate, and another moved to another country! Life got busy and we all just drifted apart. We see each other about once a year at weddings and we always say we should get together. So, we finally made plans. The international friend was going to be in town, the downstate friend was also coincidentally going to be in town, and the fourth friend and I said we could make the drive into the mutually-agreed-upon "central location."
Long story short, the plans fell through.
Here I am, going through all these ups and downs of adjusting to my new police wife life, trying to fill my lonely weekends with old friends and activities, feeling like if ever I was in need of a few friends, this is it...and people don't come through for you. And it's not just this weekend either. I've been experiencing this a lot lately. So I could either take this personally, or I could look at it and realize a few things:
1. Why are we friends in the first place? Or perhaps, better stated, what do we still have in common? If all we have in common is that we lived on the same dorm room floor when we were 18, do we still have enough to maintain a long-term friendship? If we have the same values, then maybe we do, but if we don't, am I trying to hold onto something that isn't really going to enhance and improve my life? Am I just trying to maintain the friendship because it's familiar?
2. I have a couple of friends who I have known since high school, and I really think and hope they will be friends for life. I do believe there are some friends who can stand the test of time. However, more and more, I'm coming to believe that most friends come into your life for a season, and then they go. I don't think I should feel bad about these friendships fading over time because I think different people will help you through different times in your life...and then you'll have different needs and need different people. (Wow, I used the word different a lot in that sentence.)
3. A handful of good friends is more important than a whole truckload of so-so friends.
4. I really believe I have been trying to maintain so many friendships because after our wedding, Hubby Blue and I moved away from where I lived before getting married, and I feel alone and far away out here a lot. I have my work friends, but other than them, all my other friends live at least an hour away from me. I guess I was hoping that we would move back there someday and that when we did I would still have all the same old friends and it would be just like nothing had changed.
5. People who make you feel bad whenever you see them or talk to them are not good friends! Some friendships just aren't worth it. I've realized this and decided to let those friendships fizzle, but I was doing so in a way that was causing me a lot of resentment. Thanks to one of those lifelong friends I mentioned, I hope that I've made some progress in letting go of one of those friendships in a more graceful way. That friend pointed out that I simply don't have the emotional capacity right now to handle the current stress in my life AND feel this anger. That was hard to hear, but she was also right.
6. I need to be grateful for and hold onto the people who do prove themselves to be good friends. I need to feel blessed to have the good friends I have. They might live hours away or even on the other side of the country. But I need to focus on the friends who do come through for me and focus my energies on maintaining those friendships. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes (saw it on Pinterest, where else?): Gratitude turns what we have into enough. I first saw this quote when Hubby Blue had just graduated from school and we were living on one income and barely getting by. It was more of a reminder that we had enough in the way of things, food, fun. But now, it feels like a reminder to be grateful for the people in my life.
7. Expectations can really ruin a friendship. Sometimes--okay, a lot of times--I expect too much from people. I try to give people my best and think I should get the same from them. It doesn't always work that way. I also can't expect other people to understand what I'm going through. I don't have a single friend who is also married to a cop, so they can't understand why I might need them right now.
8. I can't expect other people to make me happy. I need to find my own happiness.
9. Finally, sometimes you just need to let go. I've been seeing this floating all over Pinterest and I love it:
You can see the original picture here.
What does this have to do with being a police wife? Nothing, and a lot. Nothing, because I'm sure these are realizations people come to whether they're married to a cop or not. A lot, because I was relying on friends a lot to get me through this transitional time in our lives. And to some extent, I know I still can. But I think that can't be everything. I need to just find my own happy. (Also, sidenote: I might need police wife friends who understand this life without the long explanations. Just a thought.) But maybe if I stop trying to fill my life with so many friends, I'll have more time to focus on my life with Hubby Blue and I won't feel so much like we're going in two separate directions all the time.
I kind of have to laugh. I never expected to be doing so much reflecting and growing and evolving when Hubby Blue became a cop. I thought I had myself pretty well figured out, and it turns out, I had, and still have, a LOT to learn!