I have done a fair amount of moving around in my life. Not a lot, but enough to explore the difficulties of maintaining friendships when there are hundreds or thousands of kilometres between you.
When I started school, the plan was that it would be my school all the way from class 1 (the very first year of formal primary school education) until matric (the very last year). For the first 9 years, it looked like things were going to plan – I had successfully survived primary school, made the jump to secondary school and made many friends along the way. I grew out of the awkward braces and untamed hair days of my adolescence and got myself my very first boyfriend. Then, on a fairly ordinary day, my world was turned upside with the announcement of a move. And that was it, at the end of the year we packed up the house, went on our annual Christmas holiday and then moved into a brand new house in a brand new city just a few days before starting at a brand new school. Those first few months were incredibly difficult, making new friends whilst still trying to maintain old friendships and realising that, at the age of 15, most of my old school friends and I had nothing in common bar going to the same school and once that similarity was taken away our friendships fizzled and faded into a blur of fun memories, but mere memories nonetheless.
3 years later I chose to study away from home, packed up my room and the “friend-culling” process occurred again. Now, I sit halfway across the world, having moved a 3rd time and thinking about theories of friendship yet again. This trip back to SA has been wonderful, I have seen so many people who are important to and beloved by me, all from different chapters of my life. These friends are my chosen family, the people who have spent time and effort getting to know me be cause they want to, the people who it is so easy to pick up with that I forget I haven’t seen them for over a year, the people who share a deeper connection with me than simply being in the same place or doing the same thing, the people who I want to be in my future… These are the people who I would have in my version of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.
Everyday at school there is a squabble between friends, some last only minutes whilst others drag on several days and there are few which seem to cause permanent change. When I overhear children telling each other “I quit you being my best friend!” or have to wipe the tears of a sobbing prepubescent because their world has been crushed by the latest friend fallout.
It is difficult to explain to an 8 year old that not all friendships last forever; it’s a concept I still struggle with now, but I wish I could find a way to explain the joy at finding a person who seems tailor-made to be your friend for life. Those are the friends worth waiting for.
This is a post from PostSecret this month – this is what I can realistically imagine doing with my friends.