In 2012, just a little more than a year after moving to Atlanta, I found myself in a tight knit friend group. I praised Jesus for these girls, who made a big city feel more like college, with shared values, constant weekend plans and a beautiful blur of we-love-life-even-though-it's-super-hard-and-also-fun.
And then, suddenly and not slowly, it felt like everyone was gone. People got married, moved home, went to grad school and, honestly, just scattered. Melissa and I found ourselves standing alone in Atlanta, wondering where our squad had gone.
As we've cultivated new friendships, I've noticed it's not quite as easy as it used to be.
Friendships at 29 look different than 24. At 24, most everyone was still in the same boat: new grad, navigating Corporate America and trying to understand budgeting. For the most part, you were still figuring out who you were and what you wanted in life.
By 29, we aren't all running parallel any longer. We've had to make bigger decisions, which reveal our values and life goals.
I have friends who have multiple children, friends who have no interest in getting married or having kids, and everything in between. I have friends who want to spend money on nice vacations and buying a home, while others have no interest in earning money or settling down.
We've learned that there's more than one way you can peel a banana, and, most importantly, we've grown comfortable with doing it our own way.
But, as we become more sure of who we are and the choices we're making, it can put tension on our friendships. As I've watched friends make awesome, cool, fun, beautiful or wise decisions that I wouldn't necessarily make, I've had to remind myself that we aren't all called to the same path. We don't all want or value the same things.
I've learned that it's important that we create space for one another to grow.
If we color with broad strokes, we allow room for our ideas and their ideas; we create space for comfort, tolerance and acceptance. I've learned that it's important that we are confident enough to say: good for you. Not for me. And be OK with it.
I've begun to understand that if we open up our hands, instead of clinging to the past, we make room for something bountiful. I've learned that if we can let go of what once was, we allow what is to blossom. And, we just might find that it's more beautiful than we could have imagined.
PS: If you're struggling with adult friendships, check out this great article on them.