Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

A good friend of mine just finished reading “The Catcher in the Rye.” Although he didn’t like it, I loved it. But, the last time I read it I was a senior in high school, going through a very rough patch, and really identified with the main character, Holden Caulfield. High school was a nightmare to me, as I’m sure it is for a majority of the population. I went to a really small rural school where I graduated with 51 other people most of whom I had gone to school with since kindergarten. By the time we were seniors, we hated each other and gossip was the main form of communication. Being that I was a little socially awkward to begin with, most days were just hell.

I went to Ohio State for a couple of reason, but mostly because it was the largest school in the nation. Not only were there endless possibilities, it meant there were possibilities to find new friends. Or I should say, friends at all. I dove in head first at OSU making the crew team, being in honors engineering, getting involved at church, joining a sorority. And I made great friends. Life long friends. I’m still really good friends with the first person I met at college. She still lives in Columbus and we keep in touch occasionally. I have friends who has met, married, and had children with other friends. We still hang out. We still talk on the phone. These were the kind of friends I always longed for.

At my previous company I made these types of friends. The days they weren’t at work were painful. When I got offered a new job, I thought long and hard about leaving and truthfully it was because of them. I hated my job there, but I loved my friends and I thought the sacrifice might be worth it. In the end, though, I chose the new job. Leaving was hard. Many tears were shed on the way home on my last day. Since then I have spoken to them every day either through e-mail or phone calls. We’re having dinner together in a few weeks and we’re planning to get together throughout the summer. I have had a really tough time adjusting to the new job. I like the work better, but I have only made one friend here and that’s only because I basically said, “do you want to be my friend?” I am so happy to have made my friends at my previous job and although I miss them painfully every day, I know they are a few clicks or one dial away. They will always be my friends.

Since I graduated college, I have coached high school track. I looked forward to it every spring. Last year some things changed so I decided not to come back this year. Practice started on Tuesday without me. I met Andrea yesterday at the school for our Wednesday midweek long run. I got to the school early and checked out track practice. There were lots of “Hey Coach Gordon’s” and lots of hugs. I miss the kids, but I feel empty without being around the other coaches. Those other coaches over the years have become my friends. They made standing in the snow for 8 hours bearable. I always wanted to stay after practice and hang out with them even though I had 12 miles to run. I would smile every time I got an e-mail from any of them or they called me and said hello with a “Hey baby!” Yesterday the head coach let me know that my contract has not been taken by anybody else and if I wanted to come back I could. He said I could coach anything I wanted. And….I’ve paused. Truthfully, I can’t go back. I left for very specific reasons and those reasons haven’t changed. But I also feel that coaching is like gravity and I just can’t seem to get out of the force field. There is no doubt that I’m going to be around, a lot, but I’m not sure I can dedicate the time to it that I need. For now, I’ll continue pausing.

In six weeks I turn 30. This is a milestone I have been looking forward to and dreading for years. After tumultuous teenage years, my 20s rocked. I have done the coolest things and experienced things I never dreamed I would do. And I couldn’t have done it without my friends.

So for my friends out there who read my blog, this is your virtual hug. Thank you for being my friends.


Anonymous said...

wow! sounds like you're sort-of going through an "early-life" crisis, evaluating where you've been and where you're going and if that's what you want or expected. I seem to go through that every few years or so. Although I'm a more recent friend, here's a virtual hug back. Hang in there!

Andrea said...

As kids, I think you tend to make friends with the people around you just because you have to. But as you get older, you have the chance to find friends you really "mesh" with, with shared interests, ideas, values. I've met alot of people since moving here, and although I don't hang out with them that much, the running gang has really become an important part of my life. it's hard to believe we have been meeting once or twice a week for years -years!-, watching each other change life situations and jobs, get married, etc. Even if we rarely see each other in non-chaff-proof clothing, I really consider this group of people with different ages, backgrounds, etc some of my best friends... <3

Jason said...

Andrea's first two sentences really nailed it. I think that is precisely the truth. It's funny though: after volunteering to help organize my high school class's 20-year reunion, I've become friends with people I really hated "back in the day." Last year, I even took a day off from work and drove up to Medina to attend the funeral of someone I really hated back then. It just goes to show that everyone grows up eventually.

J., Ashley, & Adon said...

Do the first two moves of the Macarena but curl your hands slightly further over your shoulders... squeeze a little... twist a bit... HUG!

Ash and I checked out your photog site and love your pics!

Oh, BTW... be careful because when I turned thirty... something really strange clicked on the inside. The house just seemed to quite and well... have you checked our blog lately?

AGA said...

Meet your Michigan twin-or should I say Michigan State twin. Just wanted to pop in and say hi, love your blog-found it through the elf's. Hang in there:)