As the years pass, I find I've lost friends to time. Some have moved away, some have drifted away, and others have been swallowed by their life raising children. It's not a sad thing. It's what happens.
As 2013 has been my year of taking inventory, I've realized how important it is to take control of the parts of my life that bother me. Whether that means cleaning up my health and fitness, limiting alcohol intake, committing to completing projects, or even just fixing things around my house that need attention, taking action and repairing the broken parts of my life has already been a very productive endeavor. It makes me happier to feel like I'm being proactive.
Another big realization I made recently is that I'm not relegated to the small circle of friends I currently have. It's not too late in my life to make new friends. With friendships, you get out what you put in. As a father of three kids under ten, I haven't had much to put in for quite a while. For so long, I've clung to the experiences/parties/life that I used to have before kids. Often, getting together with old friends feels like a pale echo of days past. My lifestyle has changed since I became a parent, and although I have lots of friends going through the same thing, it seems I've forgotten that it's okay to modify my social circle to line up more with the things that currently make me happy. I have new interests and new goals. Surely I can add friends to my life that share my 41 year old interests, as opposed to constantly living in an echo of my younger days.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that the people who mean the most to me should be jettisoned. Lots of my friends have grown and evolved in the same direction that I have, which is nice. Even old friends, who have grown apart, will always be a huge part of my life. I'm just realizing that you can continue to make new friends for as long as you live. It takes work, but if you stop putting in that effort, your life can get stale and you can start to feel stuck in the past, complaining about all the new scary different things in the world. I'm not ready to be a cranky old man just yet.
Sometimes it feels like I've been struggling to keep tepid friendships alive, when there are other people in my life, who I've put zero effort into getting to know, who are much more compatible with the person I am now. It's as if the person I think I am is more important to me than the person I really am.
"Cut out the people in your life who bum you out" is a great life philosophy. An addendum to that might be: "Add new people into your life who make you happy."
From what I can tell, the past is a nice place to visit...but it's not a great place to live.