Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Connection: My Theme for My Forties

OK. So, I'm 40 already. But I think I may still reserve the right to blog when I have a thing or two on my mind.

One thing I forgot to tell you about is something I announced at my birthday dinner back in October: my theme for my forties. That's right, this next decade of mine is going to have a theme. And it is...CONNECTION.

I started thinking about it last spring, when the word "connection" seemed to be in front of me wherever I went. At my job at a media company, we questioned who was king these days - was it content? Consumers? Or maybe it was all about connection. On Facebook, I was making new connections daily. My youngest listened to "Barbie's Diamond Castle" song "Connected" over and over. Two friends who tried online dating services seemed to be making connections that were going to go the distance (two weddings to go to this summer!) And one day, when I wandered into an old church down in the financial district, I found a piece of paper in the back of the pew - it was called a "connection card."

As human beings we seem to long to connect -- with friends, with job contacts, with pets, with a soulmate, with God. You hear about the importance of touch in human development - that babies who live in orphanages with bottles propped in the crib rails and no one to cradle them experience a host of psychological consequences. We need to connect physically - a hug, a pat on the head, a kiss -- but we long for emotional connection too.

As I enter my fifth decade, I'm craving connection. I don't know about you, but over the past decade, I've been so busy - ya'know, creating life and all, changing diapers, getting kids into school, traveling for work, buying Ikea furniture, cursing broken Ikea furniture, helping with homework, selling a home, buying a home, moving, going to dentist appointments that beget more dentist appointments (admitting that I don't floss my kids' teeth - I can barely get to my own), going to meeting after meeting, rushing to school, etc. -- that there really hasn't been a lot of time leftover for nurturing relationships.

What I really miss is the presence of female friends.

Gone are the days of the best friend that I met on my bike at the corner, and played with all day, and stayed for dinner, and begged our moms for a sleepover.

There's no girl next-door to string a tin can across the driveway and see if it really works as a telephone...eventually just talking loud enough to span the twelve feet of gravel in between.

There are no college roommates - five girls and five closets full of clothes in one house -- ready with a shoulder to cry on and a pint of ice cream or a bottle of Jim Beam, whichever the occasion warrants.

I know my friends are out there - I've recently emailed or talked on the phone with all three camps above: the play-all-day friend, the girl-next-door, the college roommates. And I've been fortunate to make new friends along the way. But still...

I feel lonely sometimes.

Everybody's still there. And more have popped up. At school. At work. In the neighborhood. And it's nice knowing they're there - but it's kind of like it's nice knowing New York City is there when you live in the suburbs and rarely make the trek in.

I want to do more than have friends, I want to be a friend. I want to enjoy wine together, bond over chaperoning kids' activities, laugh at the absurdities of life, help each other out, hang out in a house not fit for company, and generally be there in good times and bad.