As you get older, maintaining friendships takes work. It's true. It's something you wouldn't assume ever happens, but it does. Regardless of what you may see on shows like The League and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as you age, time spent just "hanging out" with your friends becomes less and less common. I'm currently in the process of finding this out.
I'm 31 years old. If you're older than me, you know what I'm talking about. If you're younger than me, you probably think you'll be the exception to the rule.
For better or worse, real life has a pesky way of interfering with fun. Days you used to spend on friends' couches and on local bar stools are now spent dealing with family and career concerns. And that's not to say that all your time is dedicated to these things. You're probably not the president. (But if you are: What's up, Barack? Follow me on Twitter!) But as you get older, you're just far less likely to call up a buddy out of the blue and say, "Hey, come over. Let's hang out."
That sucks, I know. But it's one of life's more sobering realities.
And sometimes there's a sh*tty domino effect where the collective strains of real adult life just leave you flat-out tired. Seriously, there's a reason that 5-hour Energy Drink casts nothing but 30-something guys in all of their commercials. True story: On the way to work this morning, I saw a hobo sleeping under a bench, and I was immediately wildly jealous of him. How come he gets to nap and I have to go to work? What a dick!
When you pass the 30-year-old mark, those late nights you used to spend eating cheese fries at diners -- they're few and far between. And that sucks, because this motherf*cker loves late-night cheese fries and good conversation.
You may not get a chance to see some of your friends as much as you used to, or as much as you wish you did, but they are still your friends. And in order to maintain these friendships, you have to work at it.
When you're younger, you take friendships for granted. When I was 21, I drove across the country with three of my best friends. It was an entire month of booze, highway miles and adventure, sans any and all responsibility. Then again when I was 26, I did a similar trek throughout America -- this time with seven friends. There's just no way we could do that now. None. Zero. It's simply not feasible. Again, the culprit is real adult life. While it was happening, I truly didn't appreciate how incredible an experience both of those trips were. I had no clue I was making memories.
At the time, I was just hanging out with my friends.
And while there are some friends you miss, others you just grow apart from. People go down different paths -- no harm, no foul. There are those who are settled into a traditional family life, and then there are others who still lead a life not much different from the one they led in their 20s. On the surface, that may not seem like such a huge difference -- but it absolutely is.
People with babies love talking about babies.
People without babies don't love hearing about babies.
I know that comment won't endear me to some, but it's largely true. And that's not to say that I don't care about your child. I do. Your kid is great. But unless he becomes the first baby magician or is revealed as the new drummer for Slayer, I'm just not that invested in his day-to-day activities.
Does that make me a dick, much like that aforementioned slumbering hobo? Perhaps. If so, sorry.
But that's a major reason for what becomes the fork in the friendship road. Finding enjoyment in very different things. But I do truly believe it sucks when people allow the rigors of adulthood to wash their friendships away, much like the ocean does a dune.
Where there's a will, there's a way. Pick up a phone. Catch up. Reconnect.
There are plenty of friends I see on a weekly basis. I happen to be one of those people whose life hasn't drastically changed since my 20s. There are, however, other friends I don't see -- friends currently traveling different paths. But lifestyle and responsibilities be damned, they're still friends whom I genuinely love. I can rattle off a list of names. If you're my age or older, I have a feeling you can, too.
Fix that. I'm going to try. I suggest you do, too.
And if you sadly have no friends at all, may I suggest cuddling up next to that nice, sleepy homeless man on the corner of 31st and Sixth Ave. in New York City.
He looked... nice.
By Peter Hoare