If you’ve not heard about the book here’s the basic premise so you’ll understand why I’m relating: Girl meets boy in college, they date long distance between NYC and Philly for several years. (Mr.S & I did 1.5 years b/w DC & Richmond) Girl has wonderful & deep friendships in NYC (aka Richmond) complete with BFF’s, girl marries boy, and they move to Chicago, where girl has few acquaintances and no BFF’s. After 3 years in Chicago and no BFF in sight, girl decides to go on one friend date per week for a whole year to meet new BFF’s. Thus is the book, documenting her quest, struggles, triumphs and all that comes with a self-induced and self-fulfilling journey.
Written by Rachel Bertsche as an outlet for her quest and self-discovery for female friendships, I find myself approaching 2 years in Washington this month, and feeling much the same. I still venture back to Richmond for “Lady Pot-lucks”, when I can, annual parties, girls-only weekends, birthdays and the like. These frequent trips fulfilled me for a long time, and I never bothered to worry about making any friends in DC, but since being gone from the city, for what seems like an eternity, friendships have changed among the once strong group of friends, phone calls have become less frequent & texts go unanswered, and life moves on. This isn’t to say those friendships are any less meaningful when we do get to catch-up, they are simply less involved on a day-to-day basis. I find myself longing for those days when yoga class with the girls was like clockwork; daily quick chats on the way home from work about the latest drama, and grabbing dinner to dish on the latest happenings, and dissecting our lives for hours was the norm.
I’ve found a few girl friends since moving to Washington, mostly through Mr. S and his friends, but like myself, most of the ladies here are married or engaged, or seriously dating someone, or in the full throws of their demanding jobs or graduate school courses. Careers are more the focus for everyone here, and there’s no second thought given to staying at the office past 7 PM a few nights per week to “catch-up”, or to avoid the pains of the latest Metro debacle. Not going out on Friday night so that they can venture back to the office on Saturday morning is not out of the realm of normal here either - yuck. Not to mention, between all that working & commuting nightmares, people are squeezing in quality time with their significant other, going to the gym, walking the dog, running errands, sitting in traffic, blogging and keeping the house semi-organized – it’s exhausting.
I’m trying to find a groove between it all – maintaining my long-distance friendships in earnest, cultivating new friends here in DC, and keeping my relationship with my wonderful husband as amazing as the day we married. It’s sad to realize that life is moving on and things won’t return to how they were when we were 22, similar to Rachel does in her book, but I hold those memories and relationships so very dear.
I started this blog as a way to share my writing and release my stress from long days in corporate America, but I’ve come to realize that it’s more than that. It has become a way for me to reach out and cultivate friendships; those I’ve made here in DC, my friends from Richmond and home, connect with people I’ve lost touch with, and connect with new people, like my blogger book club.
I’m only half-way through the book, and at this point in the read, Rachel is 6 months into her quest after 26 friend dates, and I’m feeling like I'm walking in her shoes – scheduling time to make new meaningful friendships is as tough as holding on to the old ones. But all of the above is worth every, minute of phone messages, quick texts, coordinating crazy schedules way in advance, spare of the moment get togethers, mass-emails, Tweets & Facebook posts – even if just to say “Hi” and “I’m thinking of you”. It all counts for friendships new and old.