When you no longer fit – like those size 8 jeans that are still in my cupboard from when I was 17. Twenty years later I still have them, hoping one day they will reach above my wrinkled chubby knees. Even if they did fit they would be crudely out of fashion…but it will remain my long term goal to beat them.
I used to be popular by being the ‘joker’, the ‘funny one’ in the group. If I had to be a character from Sex and the City I would have probably been Samantha in my teenage years and loved every minute of it. I liked to wear the wrong school uniform and take chances. Long before YOLO appeared in the urban dictionary my catchphrase twenty years ago was ‘you only live once and you won’t get out of it alive’ (YOLOAYWGOOIA). I was the ‘live wire’ in a core group of firm friends whom I’ve ‘grown up’ with.
We’d supported each other through births, deaths, marriages (no divorces…yet!) and although we don’t all get together that often when we do it’s like ‘old times’. But that’s the problem…. old times aren’t me anymore. I really don’t want to talk about that time when I threw up in the plant pot or snogged a stranger! I hate the thought of being that person again because for me that was a different life – life before kids.
I’m a mother first and foremost, I’m a faithful wife and loving daughter and have worked incredibly hard to have a successful career and stand on my own two feet – something some people my age have not yet succeeded in doing.
One last get together made me realise how disconnected I really was from my ‘core’ group of friends. I was pretending to drink as I had a suspicion I was pregnant but had already decided I would not be telling anyone that night. Being sober, and listening to the ‘old’ stories, the times we all got drunk and did frightfully stupid things made me realise we had grown apart.
I was there because that had been the norm for 25 years. I was there out of guilt. I would have felt guilty if I hadn’t had gone. I was there but I actually wished I was at home sat on the settee with a cup of coffee.
I felt as though I was being dragged back down into the murky past rather than being sprung forward into an exciting, and encouraging future. Like a teenage break up from your first boyfriend I felt empty and a bit disappointed.
We’ve had a lot of changes this year, new house new baby, new friends. Whilst my life was changing for the better, my role within the group couldn’t because that was the norm, that’s how the group worked because we all had our roles to play. I love each and every one of them dearly and there’ll be no dramatic ‘bow out’ from the group but sometimes to move forward you just have to leave a little bit of yourself behind.
Have you ever felt this way about friends?