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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where everybody knows your name

Hey, all, here's Elizabeth! Yes, I know I have sadly neglected this blog. I just could not have anticipated how busy and single-focused I'd be when I decided to go back to school at age 40, after 19 years of not doing anything remotely like school! It was a LOT of hard work, but very rewarding. I got my grades today--well, what passes for grades at Birthingway--a "Complete" for each class I took! I am just telling myself it's really acing all my classes. That may not be true but please humor me and let me have my delusions!

So, now that school is over for the term and I have two months off for summer break, I've been thinking about how to create a community for myself. I was married for almost 20 years and, as a married person with children, I've had a built-in social life. I have been at home with my family as a default setting, and perhaps would sometimes go out with friends, but if I didn't have other friends to fall back on I knew I could always hang out with my family. And now I don't have that as a default anymore. Yes, I still spend a lot of time with my kids....but I sometimes crave meeting with adult friends, people who I can be close with who are my peers. And I find that I don't know where to go to create those kinds of relationships. I'm sure it's a common newly-divorced dilemma.

I just went to a movie screening at a local (anarchist) cafe that shows some interesting movies--that was fun, and created discussion, but I wouldn't say I "met" anyone there that I could have a meaningful, ongoing relationship with. Where do people go to find friends? And how does one continue friendships with old friends after the divorce.....seems for some people it's awkward to continue being friends with one or the other, or even worse, both! For whatever reason.

I suppose a huge part of this is that I'm shy about forging new friendships. I always feel like people will think that I'm being too forward, or people won't want to spend a lot of time with me. Perhaps it's a very bad friendship experience I had a couple of years ago. I'd rather curl up in my cocoon and withdraw from the world than to call someone up and see if they want to get together. And then I'm lonely. And then, there's the other problem of people being so busy....and these lonely streaks seem to just come on strong all of a sudden. And then, of course, I crave company *right now*, and people are busy and can't get together.

Please, don't read this wrong--I really am not fishing for anything--I just know my own hang-ups and I would like some ideas from people who've been here before. Also, I just want to say upfront that I do not have any regrets about the decisions that Paul and I made. They were necessary and the right thing to do, and I am not pining for "the old days."

Any suggestions?


Mimi said...

You know, I think that is a common thing to go through when you go through many of the items you have - moving to a new area, getting a divorce, going back to school - you've just had them happen close together.

I can tell you, however, that I felt perfectly befriended and loved when I met you, so I know that you will make new friends soon. It's hard to know where to find them, though. How is your school community?

And, you have an open door at my house if you want to come and hang here :) You'd have to share the couch with a cat though, but I think you'd find that ok.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, thank you for your kind words, Mimi. And I think you're probably right about all these things happening at once. I am becoming friends with classmates....but all of them are quite a bit younger than me! So, yes, I can be friends with them....I guess I'm looking for other friends in addition to them.

And I will probably take you up on your offer at some point to share your couch with your cat. :-) Right now I'm itching to travel but being tied to Portland because of doula clients! So, maybe if someone gives birth early I could!

ElizO said...

One place to consider is the downtown Unitarian Church, which has numerous social justice, environmental, and general social groups full of thoughtful, progressive people who are interested in making connections with like-minded people. The sermons and music might be unsatisfying for their lack of Christian emphasis, but you might find other needs that could be well met there in the smaller discussion groups.

Another possibility might be finding a good book group--maybe through the library, or Powells?

Also, I'd love to see you and catch up, and I know others would, too--any chance you'd be interested in coming to Tuesday park day at Normandale to say "Hi"? You'd be very welcome!

Take care,

Belladonna said...

This post was especially compelling for me right now because I am right on the brink of a major life change - quite possibly going to be moving to Alaska to take a job in Wasilla. While I will be taking a husband and a dog along with me, I still know I will have times when I will be lonesome all the way down to my bones in a strange new town where I know I am not know. I am so comforted by the sweet support of caring friends I have established here. I know I will miss their tender familiarity and quiet smiles that need no words since they rest on years of shared history. Know my thoughts are with you as you carve out this new life of yours. You know how when you are helping a mom birth a new baby there is always that transition phase when things get tense and urgent? Sometimes I feel like whenever I go into a major change in my life I get pangs of uncertainty/anxiety/unease that area someting like that ...for me it is a signal I'm ready to more fully let go of my early stage of the "new" me and move more fully into a deeper understanding of what is to come. Don't know if I'm expressing this right - just know that even strangers you don't even know read your words and feel uplifted by them. Be tender with yourself!