It’s interesting that this subject has come up now since Garry and I had a long talk about this just the other day. We had turned down an invitation to a party because the truth was neither of us wanted to go. There were a lot of reasons. One of them sounds strange unless you understand Garry’s hearing issues. These people talk really softly. It’s almost like loud whispering. Garry can’t hear them at all and I have to strain to hear them. They are nice people. Kindly people — but for no discernible reason, they aren’t our people.
Maybe we are just getting too old to start over with new friends. I don’t honestly know. I really want there to be a real connection. We could use some local friends, but the spark’s not there and no amount of trying has made it happen. We have three couples and some individuals who are great (and close) friends. No one is really local, so seeing each other is at best occasional and always planned. As much as we don’t like driving, they don’t either. Age is not just a number.
We both used to have a lot of “work friends.” After we retired, it turned out we had very little in common except work. Ten years into retirement, looking back on work has an interest factor of about half an hour. After that, we want to go home. Watch a movie or a ballgame. Read a book. Write a blog.
Meanwhile, a lot of friends have died and many more have moved far away. Others are past the point where conversation is viable. Dementia is an ugly disease. Every time I can’t remember why I’m in the kitchen, I wonder if this is the beginning of my own dementia.
Neither of us is particularly sociable. I was — a long time ago — but it has been many years since I was considered “popular.” More than 40 years.
Garry is not sociable now and never was. I think he married me because I’m the only woman he knew with whom he could have a real conversation. He has a lot of problems with conversation anyway because of his poor hearing. Even with a cochlear implant, conversation is more work than fun. If there are a lot of people talking at the same time, he can’t hear anything. Plus, he has some a phobia about interrupting, so he feels left out of group chats.
A lot of people he thought were close friends turned out not to be. For him, work was his life, so talking about work was talking about his personal life too. But other people were married, had kids and relationships unrelated to their jobs. They were congenial colleagues, but not real friends. They shared common experiences which gave a sense of closeness, but it was outside of their “real” lives.
I don’t have more friends than Garry does. We have exactly the same friends.
Meanwhile, we have all grown old. We have started to think of people in their 60s as youngsters. Traveling is tiring. The idea of dealing with airplanes and airports is a non-starter. Long drives and airplane flights are not appealing.
There’s no one we can just visit in an afternoon and I’m not sure we would do it even if we could. We had a few very good local friends, but they passed away. They were older than us, so I suppose we should have expected it, but you never expect friends to die. They are supposed to live at least as long as you do.
Do we have enough friends? I don’t know what enough is. I don’t feel abandoned, but I still have Garry and we are each other’s best friends. Owen’s living with us has given us a new lease on life.
I have no idea what we’ll do without each other. It’s the thing that frightens me most.
As for being grown up? I always wondered when I would feel grown up. I think it was a gradual thing, around the time when I realized I was one of the oldest members of my family. When my parents, aunts, and uncles were gone, I never felt like a kid again.
As for mature? I’m working on it.