in the world, in my head

I never really used to have a social life. I used to watch shows like How I Met Your Mother where the characters were all incredibly good friends, who would hang out all the time and help each other and knew everything about each other and were basically family. To me, that’s what family was. People who hung around and you fought and made up with and were always there.

But my friends were different. My one best friend who remained with me for over a decade (and to this day), never dropped by unannounced – she was too polite – and while always there for me, it was a different dynamic to the ones I saw on TV and read about in books. Even other bloggers seemed to have this different breed of social life. I didn’t know enough people to have Friendsgiving, for instance. Or even to host a good White Elephant party. Aside from that one good friend, I had acquaintances, and place friends. The friends at work whom I hung out with there and never outside. The friends at college. Those friends were a bit more tight; I hung out with them outside a few times. But we didn’t live close enough or have enough time to be super close or involved.

So I spent a lot of my time happily alone, working on my own creative projects and dreaming about old books and cottages and fluffy cats, dark shorelines and rainy days and forest walks with boughs dripping.

These days, I don’t dream like that.

And the reason is a social life. I have one now. I have two close friends, which isn’t much of an upgrade, I suppose, but we hang out all the time. At school and after, since we work together. We have a dedicated girls night. We drink wine and giggle and gossip. We cook Mexican and tell each other about our dates. It’s just like what I saw on TV and those blogs. I could see us realistically having that Friendsgiving. We’re going on vacation together next month, so why not?

But it’s strange, all the same. I love them; they’re my support group, and I was able to share some darker stuff from my past comfortably. In this foreign country, that’s really valuable.

But when I take a step back and look at myself, I’ve changed, and I’m not at all sure I like it. I think about going out more than creating a life I like. I think about dates and fashion and how well my makeup sticks at the end of the day. I gossip about everyone, and we tend to complain a lot. Solidarity maybe. Negative influence? Does it matter?

I feel like my life has taken a prosaic turn towards fun. I mean, I love hanging out with them. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a group. And we know each other really well. But I’m very into this world, and not so much into my head, and honestly, the world is kind of a strange place to me. I like my imagination better.

But once you get in the world, it’s hard to get out.

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