Absence and Familiarity

So today marks the last day of our big trip…J, The Boy, and me.

Just as last year, we had a lot of family fun and happiness and adventure. We saw and did a lot of exciting, new things and revisited places we’ve grown to love. And now, also just as last year, I’m a little down about it all being over. It almost feels like it didn’t really happen. I know it did. But it already feels removed and nebulous like a dream or a story I made up in my head.

This year, I think the main reason for this let down at the end of the trip is not only the obvious…that J is headed back to work Thursday and we’re back to a normal routine leading up to The Boy going back to school and I miss my friends I was lucky enough to see and speak to and touch in person while we were on the road. Now the reality is that they’re far away and will remain far away for a while. Who really knows how long. Maybe a few months. Maybe a few years before I see them in my presence again.

But the main reason is a new self awareness discovery. I was chatting with a friend I am lucky enough to see and spend time with fairly regularly about how badly I’m already missing A, my best friend, who lives far away. And I mentioned that I have other friends…M, A, S, L, S, K, E, S…who all live hours away from me and get excited at even the prospect of one of them coming near me or me coming anywhere near them. Who make a lot of effort to see me and spend time with me at every opportunity. And that except for this dear person I was speaking with, I didn’t really have people in my every day life besides J and our son who expend any effort for me. But I have all these wonderful people spread across the country who gladly would and do. She said, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt.’ And went on to clarify that she didn’t think THAT was necessarily true, but it did breed taking things and people for granted.

There’s another old adage, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ And I get it. Both of those things. About absence and familiarity. I do. But I don’t operate that way. I’m fond of J and our son so much that they’ve literally been right next to me for weeks and I’ll miss being cramped in this RV with them tomorrow. And I treat every interaction with people I care about the way my long distance friends treat me, even when I technically could see them every day. Maybe it will be my only opportunity to spend time with them or see them. Maybe it will be my last time to talk to them or text them. I’ve spent all my time for the past 3 weeks with people who treat me the way I treat people, and now that’s ending. I’m back to common reality with people who could basically take me or leave me. My friend said she hoped I was underestimating the impact I have on my family and friends, but I honestly don’t think I am. People tend to like me more from a distance. I get the reciprocation I want from people who don’t see me much because of the lack of opportunity. (Although, I really believe, at least in A’s case, that I could spend a lot of time every day with her, and she’d be another person like J and The Boy for me…who whether far away for familiar…I’d feel close and connected and excited to see her each time. I’m always fond of A.)

Maybe I’m a weirdo who connects with people in a morbid way. I try very hard every day to not take the people who mean something to me for granted. Maybe I live like I’m dying. Or like they might. Or both. I don’t know how to treat people another way. But it’s quite obvious this isn’t how people normally operate and it’s hard to ratchet down my expectations to accept being taken for granted or worse…treated with contempt…because I’m familiar.

I don’t want this to be a self-pitying, or ‘asking for someone else’s pity’ downer post. I’m happy to be headed back home. Truly. I love my home and my regular, routine life. I just miss my far away friends. Especially A. She feels like an old friend even though she isn’t really.

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Whatever this word is, that’s what A and I are. ❤

And I miss my old friends who live far away from me now. Oddly, the people I’ve remained emotionally closer to from my youth are the ones who live the farthest away from me. And my new friends are all far away too. Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, California, Arizona, Virginia, Oklahoma. Hours of driving or hundreds of dollars for an airline ticket for a hug. Or a laugh or smile unfiltered by digital technology or frozen into a photograph.

And I miss J who’s right next to me now but won’t be in a day and a half.

Forgive the vacation let down. I’ll be back to my old happy, sappy self soon. And I’ll hopefully be publishing a new novel in July. Thanks for hanging in there for a lack of new material this past few weeks. I missed talking to you all too.

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1 thought on “Absence and Familiarity

  1. Missed you also!

    Like

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