I attended a farewell party for a friend of the Millennial Man, Libby Koerbel, who is, unfortunately, leaving sunny and warm LA for Minneapolis on Thursday. It is sad to see her go, but we know big things are ahead for her and look forward to seeing all her future success.
A big adjustment in the adult world is getting used to how infrequently you see your friends. As kids we spend all day in school with them. Elementary school might as well just be called a camp with a bit of learning, and then we spend more time with them riding bikes and playing games. It is a non-stop friend party.
This continues into high school, though to a lesser extent as we have classes with different people and a variety of structured activities, sports or clubs that keep us apart. But every weekend is spent hanging out with your best friends, so you’re not being cheated on friend time.
And then there is college, oh college. You literally get to live with your best friends and in some cases sleep on top of them, in bunk beds. Clean up your dirty minds. This is the ultimate friend experience, and why we end up getting so close with people in college, we have no choice since there is no escape.
After this overload of friendship comes post-college life and a dearth of friend time. Once college ends the time comes to make decisions for your future. What do you want to do? How do you want to live? What are your passions? We all have our own, unique answers that take us to different places.
It may take us back to our hometown, where we’re comfortable and know a lot of people or it could take us to a new city, country even, where we do not know anyone. As difficult as it may be to adjust to new surroundings, we need to follow the path that is best for us.
Since we all have different goals, the great friends we made in our four years in college, disperse across the country. We start working or go to graduate school, both of which are much more time consuming than college classes. All that free time we had to hang out with our buddies, drinking beer and playing Mario Kart, is gone. It is replaced by the bitter reality of life and the hard work it takes to survive it.
Forget about our friends that live across the country, we don’t have time to hang out with friends that live a mile away from us. We’re busy all week and we come home from work or classes dead tired. All we want to do is zone out for an hour or two before heading to bed, not a very social atmosphere.
Sitcoms make it seem so easy for professional friends to hang out after work at the local bar, but the reality of going to dinner or a bar every night is much more difficult with all our expenses.
Our time with friends becomes limited, so it is important to fully appreciate every moment we have with them. It is also important to work on friendships. Being friends as kids and in high school or college is easy. They mostly start because people are nearby and as much as the CW tells us otherwise life is not very stressful, which makes it easy to be around others.
Since our free time is now limited, we must be more selective with whom we spend it. It is also important to maintain friendships by finding activities and events to all attend. This may require some long-term planning, like figuring out somewhere to go for Memorial Day weekend or even The Fourth of July, it’s never too early.
It may not be as easy to hang out with friends, but the challenge forms stronger bonds. In my 16 months in LA I’ve formed some wonderful new friendships, while also being lucky to have some old friends too and our relationships have gotten stronger as well. As we get older, life becomes about figuring out what matters to us and cutting out all the other bull shit.