On friendships and moving away

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships and support networks lately.  One of the best decisions Tom and I made was to live together, and to buy the house that we did, which we’ve now spent almost three years trying to turn into a real home for the two of us (and Bodhi).  But I don’t deny that it’s not with some occasional regret that we made the decision to move halfway between both of our families and sets of friends.  It means that we’re an hour away from our parents and an hour away from the best friends and friendships we had in those towns we lived in before. And although we’ve made new friends locally – through work, Tom through his surfing and me through blogging and other networks, there’s not a week goes by when I don’t miss having a handful close friends nearby.  The things I miss the most aren’t the big things, like having big nights out, dinner parties, birthday parties and so on – but the little things, having someone to pop over for a cup of tea and a catchup, having friends drop in because they’re passing, having a text from a friend on a Saturday afternoon to see if you’re free.

It’s put occasional tension on Tom and I’s relationship because I’ve had to accept that he doesn’t like doing the things I like to do, and I can’t always recreate those lost opportunities with him, and so we both miss out on things.  For example, as much as I’d love him to, he hates running and doesn’t want to go running with me. He doesn’t like exercise classes or going to the gym, and though he tries to be accomodating and will come now and then, he doesn’t really like traipsing around clothes shops with me.  He doesn’t want to try karate, or watch all of The Good Wife or In Treatment series’ from start to finish.  So my choices are to either do them alone (which often isn’t much fun) or find something else that we can do together.

Tonight I am going to a yoga class on my own and I feel quite nervous – I’m generally not great at doing things alone for the first time as I get anxious about getting lost, not being able to find parking, that moment when you walk into a new class and you don’t know anyone and feel like ‘the newbie’.  I’d love to be starting this adventure with a friend but it’s not to be, and that’s fine.  It can be limiting sometimes even logistically – when we want to go on a weekend away we have to drive an hour to my parents’ to drop Bodhi off as we don’t know anyone locally who could look after him.  When Tom is away training for weeks at a time I dread that my car might break down or I might need help with something as we really have few people around I could ask.

I don’t want this to feel like a ‘woe is me’ post, because I have some truly amazing friendships – I have close friends who live near enough for me to see them in the evenings and I have friends I can visit for weekends away.  Seeing my parents is always so special because we don’t get to do it as often as we would like.  And I guess in some way it’s making me better at doing things on my own and being more independent because I have to do this rather than miss out.

I do sometimes feel wistful about having a large group of friends like I have done in the past when I lived in Southampton.  I used to love a good girl’s night in – cocktails, a good movie, snacks and pajamas.  These days on the odd occasion that I do have a girl’s night in it is usually just myself and one other friend, ignoring the movie and having a good catchup! And that’s just fine by me.  So when I came across the article on hosting the perfect Girls’ Night In by Home Wet Bar, although I got excited at the thought of yummy cocktails, cheesecake and themed parties, I must admit that my thoughts did initially wander to the fact that it would probably only be me and one other person destroying that cheesecake (which isn’t so bad….)

sarah knows how to host a girls’ night in

A few of us at work have just come up with the idea of a film night which we’re going to start soon. We’ve decided that we’re going to put all of the films we’re currently desperate to see into a hat and pull one out every couple of weeks and congregate at mine with snacks and slippers.  Tom and I have also just recently got a Netflix subscription and have been marathoning Orange Is The New Black as well as perusing the list of the 30 best films on Netflix.  This year I’m definitely making time for more sofa time, even if it’s not always going to be a big group of friends gathered round the TV, at least I’ve got Tom and Bodhi as co-watchers! I’m looking forward to trying new classes and hopefully making new friends this year, as well as our work movie nights.  In the meantime I just need to remember that it’s quality not quantity and that I’m lucky to have awesome friends to visit around the country and a lovely home with a wonderful fiancĂ©.  You can’t have it all!

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{this post is a PR collaboration}