Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Does Age Matter With Friends?

I'm sure everyone reading the title of my blog will quickly answer, "Of course not!"  I used to believe that as well, but now I'm not so sure. For as far back as I can remember, I've always had friends around my age.  Some may have been a few years older or younger but nothing more than that. When I was 22, I went on a date with a guy who was 30 (gasp!) and remember thinking, "He's so old and he's experienced so much that I haven't....this could never work..."  and that was only 8 years difference!  It actually didn't work, but had nothing to do with age.    ;)

Friends my age have been a blessing because we've gone through similar phases of life at the same time.  We've been able to draw upon each others' experiences and commiserate if necessary.  Our kids have grown up together and the friendships have just seemed to work; no thought or energy required.

Stepping out of my comfort zone and moving to Kentucky has allowed me to become friends with people of all ages from a variety of different backgrounds.  Of course I've gravitated toward women my own age with kids my kids' ages but there are two women with whom I've become close who are 13 and 18 years older than me. The one 18 years older is only 5 years younger than my mother. Kind of crazy to think of it in those terms!  But these friendships work well and again, little to no thought or energy is required.....until I allow myself to fall prey to silly insecurities.

Last night I found myself wondering if I'm able to give as much as I receive when it comes to these two women.  They are like fountains of knowledge constantly pouring out, filling me with information on every topic under the sun.  Every piece of information is wrapped in an envelop of experience and I have learned so much.   What do I have to offer them in return?  Their kids are older than mine, they've been working longer than me, they've traveled further than me, they've been married longer than me, and they've had more time to build and develop their relationship with God.  

I texted a friend my age last night asking him what I could possibly offer these women and he answered, "Well, you could be a good listener."  And you know what?  He's right. Everyone needs someone to listen once in a while. So while I may not fully understand what my friends are going through in regard to preparing to send a child off to college, I can lend an ear and give them what is oh-so-important in life;  my time and undivided attention. Smart friend, that Josh.   :)

Today the friend who is 13 years older than me told me (unprompted, I might add) that I've taught her how to hug and be a good friend every day through my actions.  She always jokes about being a porcupine who doesn't like to touch or be touched much and that hugging has always been a bit awkward for her.  I've pushed that aside and hugged her on many occasions....and I'm noticing now that she initiates hugs.  Love it! So something seemingly insignificant (to me) like hugging has actually been a big deal to her and she credits me for helping her to come out of her shell when it comes to physical contact with friends.  Can't help but think that's kind of cool.

So does age really matter?  Well, I won't lie- I wish there were a way that I could feel more balanced with my older friends when it comes to the give and take.  But maybe a lot of it is in my head.  We never truly know how we influence others and maybe I have helped them in ways I'll never know.  

I can hope, anyway, because they sure mean the world to me. God certainly knew what he was doing when he placed these two incredible women in my path.