Yesterday Afternoon snow pic for reasons.
It’s kind of hard making friends in your late 30s when you’re a guy like me. I talk to the guys at work, but none of our personalities match up in a way that I’d like to hang out, outside of the job.
There are two other men in my classes at the moment. One is someone who I have probably met because we traveled in the same circles. He was in a touring band with a friend of a friend for most of a decade. I may add him on Facebook because we know about 30 of the same people. The other is a 21-year-old baseball player who is nice enough but also a 21-year-old kid with different tastes and values.
The rest of the people in my classes are women in age from early 20s to late 30s. I have a good enough rapport with them, but we don’t mesh in a way that would make me want to hang out outside of class. Besides, a new female friend could be problematic for a married guy like myself.
At the same time, by late 30s, many men are in a wholly different place in life than I am. I’m just now finishing my first degree and starting a career after drifting without direction for my 20s and the first part of my 30s. It’s hard for me to relate to someone who found their career in their early 20s and is established while I’m just starting over after a decade and a half of entry level bullshit jobs.
There are a few other reasons.
1. Time: between work and school I have very little time to do much of anything. Weekends are full of domestic and academic duties - sometimes to the point that My wife and I are still working on laundry from the weekend on Tuesday evening.
2. Interests: I don’t give a shit about sports. Haven’t for a long time. I can appreciate a good game between well-matched teams but I have no emotional stake in it. I don’t know how to put forth that effort to be a fan of sports.
I like car stuff but don’t have much time to learn how to properly wrench. I don’t have the time or money currently to really get into automotive hobbies as yet.
I’m not a religious man - I would call my beliefs in that realm “humanist with great disdain for people who use their religion as an excuse to be assholes.”
I don’t watch many tv shows - see #1 above. Pop cultural references are lost on me.
I would rather go see a live band than to watch sports. I would rather watch a standup show than a sitcom.
I’d much rather just have people over for game night drinking beers and playing Jenga, Smartass, and Exploding Kittens than anything else. To do that requires establishing and developing friendships.
3. Trust: I have a hard time trusting people for a number of reasons and so I have a tendency to push people away. It’s hard sometimes to be my friend because I don’t return calls or texts in a timely manner. On the other hand, I can be a bit needy as a friend. I have a tendency to seek validation and approval because of my upbringing. At the same time, I have a tendency to believe other people are judging me negatively. It’s likely not as true as I think it is, but it’s still there.
4. The Depression: this is the big one. I’m medicated for depression and a lot of people don’t understand it so I keep it to myself. So when I flake out or go into hermit mode as a means of survival - sending out the occasional social media dispatch to let others know I’m alive- people sometimes take it personally. And if you’re not familiar with the behaviors that come from this type of depression it can be exasperating. And it’s exasperating to have to keep making excuses to friends who don’t seem to get it. There are days when it takes tremendous effort just to get out of bed and move to my recliner. See also the validation bit above. Sometimes it takes me a tremendous effort and all of the cognitive-behavioral skills I’ve learned to keep from collapsing. I meditate, keep mindful, go to therapy and medicate and yet still it creeps in.
5. Distance: I’m on “the homestead,” where the neighbors are my inlaws and the pipeline family who live in a camper behind our house. (On that note, I couldn’t live like that. They haven’t been home in a year. He makes a lot of money - they have a $100,000 travel trailer, a $250,000 house in Texas, and she drives a CPO GMC Denali, but they’re living out of a camper 1200 miles from home.)
My point here is that I’m not in contact with a lot of people and I don’t even really have neighbors. My therapist said I need to get back in touch with my male friends but so many of us have just drifted apart. And it’s so much effort to make new friends. And I flake out and disappear for weeks at a time.
So it goes. So it goes.
Thanks for reading.