Sunday, 21 November 2010

Friends are your second family...

well, that's the hope anyway. After years of supporting this ideal, I have discovered that the friends we gather to fill up our lives, in order to encapsulate the Sex and the City dream, have their own families too.Many of my friends are getting married. They have new jobs, live in different cities,in different countries raising children. I've realised from my experience,that to have a perfect idealistic notion of a second family, a 'family of friends' I've had to go back to that flawed dysfunctional first one. The one I forgoed to make way for more interesting social groups in my life. The one I fell out with practically every other day, the one I saw as a hindrance in my search for more adventure in my life. The one I reduced to a mere backdrop of who I am. In the late 90's i went on a mission to replace my family, my childhood friends, with an updated better version in the form of university intellectuals, colleagues, friends of friends, aquaintances at parties. I filled up my contact list with people I tried to find a connection with, and in turn tried to do the same with me but in the end, for whatever reason, the efforts to form a 'second family movement' fizzled out by the time we all graduated and left the all important university social scene.Then came Facebook. I facebooked my way into a world of socialising that I had never experienced before in my first family. It was great for a while. But not for the reasons I thought it was. Because with the hugely uncool inconvenience of being a mother, combined with my hugely uncool first family suddenly making me feel loved and less lonely, I've suddenly stopped trying so hard. Putting an end to my 'creating your own family Movement'
We all need special connections in our lives. I don't think having 260 Facebook friends does that. Not for me anyway. It leaves me feeling very drained. Like being in a room filled with people who don't really know my hopes and fears. If I was a social bee, Facebook would be an endless source of amusement. Sharing my happiness with people I keep in touch with facebook 'friending', but kept at a non-commited distance too. It's not just a second family. It's an endless number of families. Your family of friends, your family of colleagues, your family of classmates. It's a family of families. I'm not a social bee. I like to keep in touch. But I hate the idea of managing an ever expanding social circle. And so it is. That is who I am. I can count on one hand how many adult friends I have. My husband, my baby sister, my best friend, my mum and my dad. My other hand (I should include my toes too) is for future inclusion of my siblings who I rarely keep in close contact with,but I hope to one day,my son when he can string a few words of joy together, and other close friends who may come and stick around abit longer to share their hopes and fears with me. For now though, that one hand is my family. First, second, always.

1 comment:

molly said...

really, really, really well put.