Okay, I joke. (Not really).
I am at an interesting age; I was telling Dani just yesterday that I feel as though I am finally-sort-of -maybe becoming an…adult? My employer expects to me to show up at work from Monday to Friday and I actually turn up, do my job, go home and repeat the vicious cycle the next day. I’m not sure my 19-year-old self would have been as compliant (she definitely would have quit by now).Psychologists have coined the term ‘emerging adulthood’ because they have accepted that the idea that one can go from teenhood to adulthood on their 18th birthday is slightly absurd. There are marked changes that occur as an individual wanders through their early twenties and there is also a noticeable shift in the behaviours of those around you.
One thing I’ve noticed (and I’ve written about before) is the shift towards serious relationships and child-bearing. There are babies, baby showers, engagement parties and weddings – all of which are shared on Facebook (which I’ve stopped ‘liking’ coz ain’t nobody got time for those notifications. Don’t worry though; I do ‘like’ your latest life activity). For a girl woman whose main goals were to stage a play in a theatre and embark on a new course at university (maybe I’ve had my priorities in the wrong order) I haven’t been so blessed as to partake in these glorious activities unless spectating and participating via attendance.
I want to state here that I am not bitter. Don’t get me wrong, there is that niggling voice in my ear that sometimes whispers, “When will it be our turn?” (don’t lie, you have it too) but on the whole, I’m happy that the majority of my energy was invested in my dreams this year and I refuse to be bitter simply because I feel as though I am exactly where I need to be. I don’t mind that my friends have significant others. In fact, I am grateful to God for blessing them with people they can walk this journey called life on. I also expect the sudden shift in my position in your life; there is a new person who not only consumes your thoughts but also consumes your time. I get it.
I think my problem is the rapid and unexpected complete ditchment that so often occurs. Suddenly, Jess can no longer be found, Sally is no longer available to take calls and Jade always wants to bring her other half to the group meet-ups. If you are the Jade in your friendship group, please stop. Stop forcing your significant others on your friends; we get that you like him and that you want to spend all your time with him; we even get that you think he’s so amazing that you can’t imagine why your friends wouldn’t want to be around him. But guess what? We don’t. Yes, he is lovely, kind and all the other wonderful things you’ve so often told us but we like you. By yourself. Yes, YOU. And you definitely won’t die if you have to go out by yourself, you know, the way you did when you were single? Yes, I’m sure it’s all coming back to you now.
Here are a few reasons why I think you should stop ditching your friends for your partner:
They still need you (even if you don’t need them)
I’m a big believer that you still need your friends, but even if you feel as though you don’t, they probably still need you. Don’t pull the ‘she knows I’m there if she needs me’ because (sorry friend for speaking on your behalf) she probably doesn’t know that for sure anymore. If you’re taking weeks to reply, cancelling plans at the last minute and only calling wheRob is messing up, then I doubt she feels as though she still has a place in your life. It is so important to be present for those you love; I firmly believe that one of our duties on this earth is to be generous and selfless with our time and our love.
They’ll be there when you need them
When life happens, when things go awry, they’ll be there to help you pick up the pieces. They’ll provide you with a shoulder to cry on and they’ll rally around you and give you the love you need to restore the parts of you that may be broken.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
You might be losing yourself
The really dangerous thing about wrapping your time and person in another is that you inevitably lose yourself. ‘I want to do this’ becomes ‘we decided it was for the best that I didn’t’. If you are so rooted in an imperfect being, if things begin to erode and eventually fall apart, you will feel as though you’ve been left with nothing; as though you are a lesser person, empty and without a purpose. It will take months/years to figure out who you are again, your wants, desires and goals in life. Spending time doing things you love with the people you love will continuously remind you of your own personal goals and purpose.
Your significant other becomes your God
The person you run to, cry to, build with and hope with. God’s place and position in your life becomes obsolete because now there is someone who can carry all your burdens. Well, I don’t think s/he’s strong enough to do so. Who can carry all your brokenness (and theirs) without breaking down? There is none that can carry you in the way that God can.
Hold fast to God, above your friends, above your significant other; He is the One; the only One.
My love today and always,
PS: None of my friends are called Jess, Sally or Jade – they were all made up for the purpose of this piece.