Seeking a Friend for Whenever
My parents live exactly three blocks from the hospital I was born in. Understandably so, it would seem I’ve hardly moved from the second I entered this world. But that’s not quite the case.
I’ve lived in 15 houses and apartments in my 20 years. To put that in perspective, the longest consecutive time I have lived in a house is five years, but I lived in that house for a total of ten years. Confusing, I know.
Those 15 locations dwell in three different states, three different countries, and seven different cities.
For reasons I believe require no explanation, my longest lasting friendship is a mere seven years. We have been several states apart for two years, and several cities apart for four more.
After that, my longest relationships range from one to three years or approximately the time I’ve been in college.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are many benefits to having been raised nomadic. For instance, I am awesome at moving. Maybe even the best out there, if I don’t say so myself. I can pick up everything I own and drop it wherever I please without so much as a sigh in frustration. I also make friends pretty easily, whether they be surface level or not. Change excites me endlessly.
In contrast, I am easily bored and tend to go stir crazy if I’m stuck somewhere for an extensive period of time (aka 1.5 years or more). The friendships I make tend to dwindle out after a move, big or small, because I’m more focused on the present than something I expect to fail anyway. And lastly, I don’t let myself get too comfortable.
So, ya know. Woe is me and all that.
No, but seriously. My life is pretty darn great. I have a great brother, great parents, and an amazing dog. But I always felt that something was missing.
When I was younger, I’d find myself looking for a “rock” of sorts, but quickly surrendered that hope. What can I say? Silly 9 y/o me was a romantic. I’d get really attached to an individual or a group of individuals, only to be ripped away months later, left to count my losses and mourn. Suffice to say I was not the happiest kid. Luckily, my angsty teenage years did me justice and snapped me into the cold pessimist I am today.
Yet optimism crept its way back into my life right as college approached. I attribute this to the three times I’ve watched Friends and the five times I’ve watched How I Met Your Mother.
I entered college with a smile on my face and a hunger for a solid group of friends to last me a lifetime. I packed my bags and hopped on a plane to New York City with only three suitcases to my name.
Unbeknownst me, Stony Brook University doesn’t quite prepare students for a social life, and the majority of the school is centered around Greek Life and social media. Now, being a good Jewish Latina Liberal girl, Greek Life didn’t really appeal to me, but I gave it a shot.
Three weeks into pledging, I wasn’t the happiest of campers. The girls in my class were the best, but I was neglecting my school work as a result of the long hours. A few weeks later, Trump was elected, and the campus transformed into a hot spot for racial slurs and anti-Semitism. So, I called it a day, packed up my bags, hopped on a plane and left.
College round one: fail.
When I got back to Colorado, the ground crumpled beneath me. My high school boyfriend and I broke up about a month before and our friend group took to shunning me. Once more, my friendships failed, and I was left at ground zero. I returned to school in January with a less-than-sunny disposition. The ex was still reaching out and clinging to the remains of our unhealthy relationship, so I decided there wasn’t a better time to let loose and stop caring.
In hindsight, this was clearly the wrong decision.
I was quickly looped into a group of girls with extreme self-esteem issues and I sank deeper into a pit of self-loathing and poor decisions, from taking tequila shots at 9am, to flying to New York in the middle of the week for days at a time. As many college students do, I developed a “healthy” drinking problem.
The semester came to an abysmal close.
College round two: disastrous.
My inner alarms started ringing, pushing me to move again. I started applying to study abroad programs and was accepted into the University of Reading program in England for the following year. Yes, you read that right. Year.
Unfortunately for me, my parents had other ideas and put me in a second-year residence hall in the hopes of my social and emotional recovery.
I spent the remainder of my summer slowly trying to heal. I worked three jobs to keep myself too busy to think, drink or make any other stupid decisions; I dyed my hair blue, then grey, then blonde, and finally back to my natural mahogany. I went to Italy with family and spent a week with my 13 crazy Jewish relatives in the countryside. I cried a lot over my mistakes.
College round three had to go better. I was determined to play my cards differently.
Once more, I picked up everything I owned, piled into a truck with my parents and headed for Fort Collins.
The first day, I gathered two of my roommates and went from door to door introducing myself and them to our hallmates. I started a group chat for our hall and invited them all over for card games and music and all that summer camp BS. We spent the remainder of the week piling into my common room and watching movies or smoking cigars on rooftops until the sun came up or one of us tapped out. I made two of my best friends — Hudson and Mary — that week.
The year progressed and the three of us grew closer. Hudson and I would watch movies or talk politics or music or whatever happened to cross our minds, until our mouths hurt from talking and our stomachs hurt from laughing. Mary and I would cry over our failed friendships and relationships. Really just any of our shortcomings. But finally gave the affirmation we both longed for and deserved.
To this day, I talk to Mary every day and I cuddle up with Hudson every night (things aren’t as platonic as they used to be).
I managed to secure a group of friends that support me in ways I never thought possible. A group that challenges me intellectually yet can exchange the most embarrassing and gruesome of poop stories around a campfire. A group that loves me and wishes only the best for me.
I don’t know about you, but I’d call that a success. So, you’re welcome, 9 y/o me. I finally found it. I finally found my home.