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Question 5

Have your relationships been affected by your situation?

Photo prompt #5: The person you couldn’t have gotten through this period without.

The last year saw a great shift in my relationships.

While my father passed, I watched my relationship with my mother grow closer as the tie I had to my dad’s side of the family grew more distant. Granted, there was a great deal of physical distance and three or four decades between me and them.

My relationship with my friends changed dramatically — from the bubble of college and the hundreds or thousands of people around me to the dozen or so in a closer social circle melting away when I moved home and then out of the house and into the real world. Many of my old friends in college? Hundreds of miles away, scattered to far-flung states, looking for some way to pay their own student loans.

My career situation is stable, sure. Some of my relationships with my closer friends are still strong, sure, but I feel as though there’s a basic reason for why so many of us never quite make it back together (outside of LinkedIn). Upon graduating, we took off in our various directions and put a laser-focus into getting a solid resume and job and income and place to live and something that might resemble a stable new life.

We all lose so many relationships immediately after college, especially if college is far from home, because we are trying NOT to be in college anymore. Clinging to past relationships makes life more difficult.

Now, it has been eighteen months since I had to say goodbye to many of my old friends. I stay in contact with a few, but it’s the same way anyone keeps in touch with a few random Facebook friends. But I have moved on to a new life. It’s weird, I have to learn how to make new friends. Well, I did that. A few, at least. I also found a girlfriend (which, at the point of this writing, we will have been together for nine months to the day).

Making new friends is an extremely frustrating experience for me. I’m not great at bar culture. I work from home. I’m socially dependent on my girlfriend sometimes, but I can’t help it. She knows the area, she knows people who host parties. Without her, who knows if I’d have any friends.

The strangest thing is: the friends that I have made who are older say they think I’ll be successful. It’s always this future-tense thing, though — they view me as someone who could, actually, do something cool with my life. I’m not sure how to take that. Should I embrace the idea that I’ll amount to something someday? It’s confusing to try to understand where the tipping point between the day-to-day distraction of life gives way to something bigger.

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