When I got ill, I let all contact with my old friends from home drop off. I stopped contacting my college friends. Basically, my core group of friends now is comprised of the ones who persistently emailed me, made an effort to stay in contact with me, or lived with me.

I have various reasons for doing it. I discovered that twentysomethings are very disturbed by the concept of chronic illness. We don't like to admit that we're mortal, vulnerable, or that we'll eventually get old. Some folks avoided me because it scared them. Ever accomodating, I didn't want to cause unease. I felt guilty. I was once very active, both physically and socially--very energetic and bouncy. When I got ill, everything slowly ground to a halt. For awhile, I'd spent all week in bed just so I could hang out with my boyfriend on Friday or go to the club with my girlfriend on Sunday. Then even that got to be too much.

Recently, some old friends have been contacting me again. At a friend's wedding last year, I ran into a few old friends. I went to an alumni weekend at my old high school in May and caught up with some others. I explained that I'm different now and you know what? Most folks accepted that. I even discovered that a lot of my high school friends burned out early and were just now going back to finish their degrees/dreams (seems common with students at state academies with advanced curricula). There are a few who are still weirded out, but they may come around. Even if they don't, I know that I have enough friends I can count on. These people were a huge part of my life for a few years. I don't want to lose them again.

And I've had friends from my college years come back into my life. That, too, is excellent. They realize they won't be using me for a networking connection, but I've become rather helpful in entertaining their out-of-town guests during the workday. It seems that, for the most part, a lot of people try to understand... or, at the very least, empathize. I appreciate that.

I appreciate those folks who've been with me through the years. I'm grateful for the support, love, and companionship I've received. I'm glad that those of us who parted on less than pleasant terms are now able to chatter away for an hour. Thank you, all of you.

December 2016

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