On age and adult friendships

Monday, March 21, 2022

I used to think that it was much better to surround myself with friends who were the same age as I was, or older. Being the younger sibling out of two daughters in the family, I always had my older sister to look up to. I was so used to having someone doting on me, to have someone to speak with whenever I had problems, and most especially, to have someone I can borrow clothes from : - ) 

When I was still a teenager, I always thought that those who were older had life figured out. I held my older friends in high regard; I admired them and aspired to be like them. Most of them belong to my local church and they've seen me grow. I guess most notable would be that they've seen my evolution and transition from being a teenager to now as an adult. 

As the younger one in the friend group, I observed and took in all that I could; I would adopt my peers' strong work ethic when it came to serving in church, I would listen intently to their devotional sharing and how they apply biblical concepts to their daily lives, and I would later on learn to enjoy food outside of my home, like drinking milk tea and eating chicken chops! 

They were all generous of their time and were eager to share their life experiences, imparting both the good and bad. Whenever there are such honest exchanges of experiences, it surely helps whenever life throws the same ones at you, but at least now you have some perspective and support. Growing up in such a community gave me a firm foundation that eventually helped me envision the kind of adult I wanted to be. 

I aimed to be reliable, well-rounded (striking a healthy balance between work and play!), and always pursuing excellence in whichever field I'm led to. But along the way, I realized as I grew into adulthood and after some deep conversations with my friend groups, that no one really has anything figured out. Perhaps it was my starry-eyed teenage self who idealized the lives of all these older people, placing them up on a pedestal, when in reality, life is just filled with challenges, one after the other. Everyone is going through something, whether it be internally or externally. To put it all simply, we're all works in progress despite our age. 



For the longest time I felt like I've merely been a recipient of so much kindness from everyone I spent time with- to speak, pray, and serve with. I've been on the receiving end, and I honestly could just hope that somehow I was also a blessing to them at some point. 

I think it took a long time for me to become who I am now. My relationships have evolved from the time when we were all actively serving together and seeing each other on a regular basis, to now navigating different life stages while keeping in touch occasionally. 

I know I mentioned that it was mostly them who witnessed my growth, but I realize I've also seen their growth as well. I now choose to see it in this light: we are each others' witnesses throughout these years, and our relationships have grown into ones filled with mutual respect. 

I'm now working towards being more open and inquisitive, to not judge so quickly and to spare some more time to listen and understand. Nowadays I've been spending more time with younger friends, whom I never imagined I would have the pleasure of meeting during this pandemic time. These connections are within my area, and since then the weeks have been filled with picnics, walks, bike rides, and conversations that widen our perspectives in life.

Have the tables turned? Perhaps, but it's certainly nice to be the one who gives and to be the one to look out for others. It's nice to keep learning new things. It's nice to feel young and to let my guard down, to find it in myself that I'm still capable of being spontaneous. Is this what my older friends saw in me as well, from my younger self? I was for sure a lot more carefree before.. maybe I still am in some ways. 

Either way, it's good to keep an open mind, to see the potential in every encounter. To not let age differences hinder the quality of our relationships, but to enrich it further. 

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I have this idea of writing about friendships in my adult years and felt like one entry won't be enough to encapsulate all of my ideas. I felt inspired to write about this mainly because things are slowly starting to open up from where I live, and I'm able to see more of my friends and meet new ones-- for which I'm immensely grateful. I'll be writing more about this again soon, with a focus on friends we meet online. 

Wishing you a great start of your week : - )



4 comments

  1. this is a very beautiful reflection, Anna and it resonates so well with me. as i grow older, i realize how important the roles that our friends are playing in our lives. i am happy that the world is now slowly opening up and we are now able to gradually spend time with them in person.

    i'm excited to see more of this adult frienship posts in the future. hope you are having a lovely week!

    sincerely, riz | https://sincerely-riz.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you for reading, Riz!! Just grateful for friendships, both new and old :)

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  2. i really love this post. thank you for sharing a rather personal insight with your readers. after reading this, i am somewhat reminded by a friend telling me that "it's okay to not figure out life no matter your age. i'm almost 30 and i'm still not sure what the hell i'm doing here." for a planner like me who is always stressing out about spontaneity and being bamboozled by chaos i wasn't prepared for, to hear that was... both a surprising and somewhat philosophical happening. i think i won't be able to fully let loose, but it's always nice to know that i am not alone at trying to figure out how to live a life, y'know? i know this sounds somewhat off topic (seeing how the post is about friendship and here i am, talking about figuring life out), but i think understanding that concept (or at least, learning to accept it) might help me embrace the value of adult friendships – how rewardingly strong and, to some extent, potentially brittle they are.

    x, Elise

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    1. Thanks for reading, Elise! I'm glad it resonated with you, especially the part where we don't have anything figured out. It helps us idealize others less :-) and inspires us to keep doing well in life.

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