The past few weeks, I've noticed one major change in my life - my circle of friends is shrinking. For the longest time, I saw this happening in the lives of those around me, and I fought it tooth and nail. I would make phone call after phone call, spend hours chatting after an already long day at work, and text and email almost endlessly, trying to maintain contact with any and everyone I called "friend." Since getting into a relationship, having a steady-scheduled 9-to-5 job, taking at least 3 credit hours a term for the past 3 semesters, applying to grad school, and being involved in church, I've noticed that my need to maintain in constant contact with so many people has dwindled. I come home from work or class and rather than get on the computer or the phone, I may sometimes light a multitude of candles as well as some incense, turn on a movie score, and just lay in bed, still, quiet, alone. This doesn't mean I won't answer a call or send an IM or email, it just means that I seem to be less proactive in my relationships.
For as long as I can remember, I was the one making the majority of initiations in my relationships. I called, texted, emailed, Facebooked, Myspaced, and used numerous other forms of communication, yet looking back, there is only a small handful of people to whom I ever felt close or with which I would consider myself intimate, vulnerable. I still look at my phonebook and see almost 500 contacts, or at my Facebook page and see over 1,000 "friends." Yet in the course of most weeks, I can count within one or both of my hands the number of people with which I feel I have meaningful, non-superficial relationships. And after a really helpful, eye-opening conversation with my therapist this week, I'm starting to realize that not only is this ok, but it's quite normal.
In 3 days time, I will be 26, a non smoker for 6 months, in a relationship for 5, a member of my church for a year, and out of the closet for almost 6. I have a salary, bills, parents that live in a different state, and an early case of male-pattern-baldness. I'm not a child - sure I may be young, but I am not as immature or flighty as I once was. I strive to find depth in my interactions and to make a difference in the lives of those around me. My preference in my friendships now includes dinner or a movie in-house over chatting or texting full conversations. I want to hear the joy or pain in my friend's voices rather than trying to have it conveyed to me through text. And this is perfectly okay, normal, commonplace. I am not selfish for limiting my interactions, for wanting to have my investment in others reciprocated equally. I am not childish for wanting to have healthy boundaries in my relationships, but rather mature, considerate, grown-up. So as I sit in my apartment, alone, writing this, I realize... I'm okay.