There Are Wonderful People Everywhere
I am so thankful for my friends.
That sounds like something I’m supposed to say, but it has never been more true than this year.
I am an introvert. I have always preferred one good, true friend to several surface level friends. This makes relocating more difficult as the thought of leaving behind those kindred spirits crushes my soul. Friend dating and developing momships can seem overwhelming to the introvert. I have been there. I have felt that loneliness and despair. I have compared all new acquaintances to my old relationships and held a judgmental attitude that limits new friendships from forming.
But with each move I have discovered just how many wonderful people there are out there in the world.
The hardest part of moving to a new place is finding where you fit. Especially taking into consideration that when I first left home at 18 I fit into one group (brand new adult, college girl, few obligations), but then when Matt and I moved away from our college town at 25 I fit into a different group (young married, young mother, new army wife). Now at 30 I fit into a different group once again. In each new city, I have to determine who I am and then find “my people”.
As a school-aged mom (let me just pause for a moment, because excuse me? “school-aged mom” is my group now? When did that happen?), I was hopeful to find other moms with kids the same ages, but also older moms from whose experience I could glean. I needed friends, but I also hoped to find friends for my boys. I hoped to find friends for myself who would love my boys and genuinely enjoy spending time with them. Then the negativity started to creep in, “What if her kids don’t like mine? What if mine don’t like hers? What if she doesn’t like my kids? What if she thinks three is just too many? Is three too many? What if she doesn’t like coffee?” And on and on, all before I had even said hello. It is hard to try to find new friends.
But God is so gracious! Each place we have moved I have been blessed with the most wonderful friends. These relationships didn’t happen overnight. These relationships took topical conversation that paved the way for heart baring discussion. These relationships took looking past our differences and clinging to our similarities. These relationships taught me to move past my prejudices and judgments and feel the benefit of surrounding myself with different viewpoints and backgrounds.
I have become a much better friend by moving every few years and meeting new people. I have learned a new kind of loyalty as long distance friendships take effort to maintain. I have learned about the strengths and struggles of differing personality types and how to work together with them (for reference: I am a 6 The Loyalist, ISFJ The Defender, S Supportive, Beaver). I have learned how to be myself and how good it is that everyone isn’t just like me. I have learned to give the benefit of the doubt and am working on not holding grudges.
Each place I have lived has truly become a home because of the friendships I have made. There are wonderful people all over the world and it really isn’t that hard to find them. While the transient life isn’t the easiest and moving hundreds of miles away from friends that become family is painful, there is a blessing in the opportunity to meet new friends and grow through new relationships.
I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for who they are and that they remain in my life even after I move away. I am thankful for their influence in my life and how they have helped me grow into a more loving, compassionate person. I am thankful that the person I am at 30 is more readily able to seek out and make new friends because I have such a heritage from which to draw.
Thank you, dear friends, for living life with me, for forgiving me when I acted selfishly or short-sightedly, and for showing me the beauty in humanity and the world.