I just read Eli’s most recent post, and for someone who generally prefers short posts, he’s got a lot to say. I know I should be working on my essay, but I’m feeling the need to respond.
In his posting, he comments that he feels like he’s no longer in control of his life, that his life has turned itself on its ear through no action of his own. This hit me like a sack of potatos (not quite as heavy or hard as bricks, but heaven forfend if any of the potatos are rotten). I know the feeling, and am nervous as hell about all the changes that are happening. I’m moving across the country to a city where I don’t ACTUALLY know anybody (merely through association), with neither Mickey nor I having even one job lined up, into an area that’s been economically depressed since the tech boom went bust. (This has had a negative effect on the theater scene as well. Who did you THINK helped fund all those theaters?) I’ve been drifting apart from a lot of my friends, through no desire to do so of my own. It’s just the way it’s been.
(I know this is a scattered post, please bear with me. I’ll try to be a bit more cogent next time.)
All I can say is that change is a part of life. Whether you like it or not, you have to get used to it at some point. And there are things that can be done to make the whole process better… like taking BACK some of the control. When the ground is about to fall out from underneath you, the only thing you can do is try and walk to safer ground. You may still fall, but more than likely you’ll feel better about the situation. It’s that whole personal responsibility = empowerment thing. If you aren’t comfortable with your life right now, maybe you should go back to school? (Not University of Vermont. UVM is an alright school and all, but I’m talking about somewhere that you are going FOR YOU, not because of legacy, or friends, or anything.)
To use a completely different metaphor, the difference between swimming down the river and getting dragged down the river is who is in control.
I’m going to miss coffee desperately. Yes, yes, I know, “Are you DAFT? You’re moving to Seattle!” That’s not what I mean though. “Coffee” has been the term for going out and socializing in a “third place”, whether it was Dirt Cowboy, or Denny’s, or driving around talking until all hours of the night. It has been cathartic in the bad times, and joyous in the good. It’s going to Hanover and sitting back on a bench on the sidewalk (or a chair at collis), stretching out, and watching the world go by for a while. It is a time spent with friends, and it has been a part of my life since I was 16. It has been a way to meet and befriend new people, and it has been a way to keep in touch with old school friends as well.
I’m moving, but I’m not planning on losing track of everybody. It’s just going to have to change. More online interaction, maybe even (*shudder*) the phone every once in a while. And, of course, regular visits (hopefully in both directions).
I started to notice “the drift” a few years ago. The eldest of the group were graduating college, finding jobs, figuring out where to settle for a while (Andy, Ann). Not far behind were the next set of graduates, going through the same process (Adam, Chris). And relationships started to bloom, resulting in marriages and babies (Adam and Ann, Dave and Margot). People became less willing and/or less able to roam all over the state to come visit friends. Work got in the way. Babies got in the way. LIFE got in the way, for everyone. You wouldn’t think that digging in your heels to a location is drifting, but it is. Mickey and I are simply the first to actually leave the region.
And yeah, hopefully Uri will hang out more once he’s down. I don’t think the others in the group value third places as much as we do, but you never know. I suppose we should just ASK.