The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain. They know our infantine dispositions, which, however they may be afterwards modified, are never eradicated; and they can judge of our actions with more certain conclusions as to the integrity of our motives.
~Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The other night I told Steve that I think the reason that sometimes I get lonely is because I don’t have any family or old friends around here. I originally moved to Nebraska in 2001 right after graduating from high school. I immediately made some great friends – the type of friends you would have for life. I moved back to Washington at the end of 2002 and met a great friend in my new roommate. Then I moved back here to Nebraska again in the summer of 2005 – largely because of how much I loved the friends I made here.
Since then, my college friends have scattered across the country – Patrick lives in California, Marie in Arizona. I see Anni from time to time when she visits her family here, and I saw Jess a couple times after we had children, but times have changed and we have grown up in different ways. My sister has moved back to the Pacific Northwest and of course any high school friends I had I have lost touch with. So the friends I keep now are people I have met through working together, largely.
But the friends you meet later in life, as adults, don’t quite know you as well. We are more guarded and cautious and talk about events rather than our dreams, which we shared with friends when we were younger. We are more judgmental and less accepting. We are quick to disown friends and slow to accept them. We may share interests and careers, but certainly don’t know each other in depth the way we did with our earliest friends.
I remember a friend I had as a kid that I was pen pals with – we would write six page letters to each other sometimes as frequently as once a week. I can’t imagine writing six pages to anyone now, about anything. There is something special about a friendship you develop when you’re still developing yourself. It evolves and grows with you. When I spend time with my siblings, we share memories and an upbringing that no one else understands. So when I feel lonely sometimes, it’s not because I should. I have friends I could call if I wanted to, I have Steve, I have Brandon.
But I don’t have that person I could meet for cocktails right down the street that knows me as anyone other than this current version of myself. I don’t have a friend here that understands about me what I don’t have to explain. Steve is it. He has a lot of pressure to be everything to me while we live here, so far removed from all the friends had when I was young. The middle of nowhere, indeed.