As much as I pretend that I hate everyone, I actually accumulate a lot of friends. There are the people I’ve known since high school who I sometimes fall in and out with, but who know me so dang well and love me despite all my flaws. There’s my vegans who I met more recently but who I feel totally and completely at home with. And then there are all the folks who I meet through my job, either from planning rad events with them, tabling next to them at sales or becoming fascinated with them during an interview or while editing their writing.
This support system has been invaluable. I have people to get angry with and folks to cry with. When I’m at my lowest point and need a laugh, I know exactly who to call. And, in turn, these people call me when they need something, making me feel useful and like a valuable part of their life.
But these relationships have also been a huge source of stress and anxiety.
Friendships take work. Even when things are going good, it’s rare to have someone who you can go months or even years without speaking to and then pick up exactly where you left off. There are about a dozen people who I’d love to see on a weekly basis and another dozen folks who I’d love to get to sit down with at least monthly. And I can tell the desire to chill is mutual by all the texts, Facebook messages and phone calls I get asking when I’m free.
It’s fucking overwhelming. Especially when I start to give away my workdays to hangout with friends. I’m well aware that I’d be making enough money to get by (relieving a huge amount of stress) if I kept my friend-time to mostly the evenings and weekends, but then I’d miss out on being with my people!
When I was in college, I knew I wouldn’t have time for anyone so I hosted a weekly vegan potluck. Every Sunday, I opened my doors to the people who wanted to see me and the people who I wanted to see. It removed all the guilt I felt about not making enough time for certain people in my life.
So, that’s a thing that’s going to happen again. Right now, I’m in Calgary and I won’t be back in Winnipeg for more than two weeks. But, when I get home, I’m going to plan a weekly hangout with pals. It’ll likely be Sunday morning cartoons, crafts and snacks at my place, but I’ve gotta chat with my new roommate first and see how she feels about a bunch of strange people invading our home weekly.
If you want an invite, let me know! And weekdays are really all that works for you, let’s skip the coffee date and instead run errands, grab a quick lunch near by home, do some crafts (I always have crafts of my work-day to-do lists!) or do something active like snowshoeing or wall climbing.
If I can tie myself to my desk more often, I won’t need to stress about taking a day off to help someone with childcare or drive a friend to the hospital. After all, part of the reason I chose to be a freelancer was so I’d be around to support the people I love, not so I could slack off.