Does Growing Up Mean Sacrificing Friends?

As you grow older, the toll of adult life begins to creep into the freedoms you once took for granted in your youth, forcing you to make very real and, at times, very heart-breaking sacrifices. Recently, I’ve encountered this situation with various friends – some who are experiencing their own compromises and seeing their lives change in drastic ways.

As young, carefree 20-somethings, we lived lives of social decadence – late nights, sleepovers, parties, intense friendships, passionate flings – every moment of our lives was marked by our experiences with others. Suddenly, you’ve graduated and moved on to your first adult job. Perhaps your parents no longer subsidize your health insurance or cell phone bill. Your lack of health insurance becomes a real problem when you realize that your birth control is $100 a month. Those long, languid afternoons spent by the pool drinking too many margaritas have been replaced with arduous 40 hour workweeks that leave you tired and disillusioned, bemoaning your lack of free time.

For me, the luxury of friend time has grown even rarer in the past few months ever since completing my yoga teacher training. My weeks are sucked into a black hole of work and yoga and work and yoga and work and yoga. And I’m not complaining – yoga gives me a sense of purpose that I have never before experienced in my life. Knowing that I am capable and skilled at something I love and that I can make a life doing something like this brings me joy that almost leaves me in tears, but this means that other things in my life are suffering – my friendships.

Between working full time to fund my nascent yoga career, taking daily yoga classes, studying anatomy and teaching two weekly yoga classes, my free time has become almost non-existent. The few hours I have free during the week are carefully allocated – trivia with friends one day, a book club meeting, one evening where I spend time alone, etc. These are the sacrifices I have made – spending fewer hours with my friends and spending more time writing and doing yoga.

This issue is not exclusive to me – a friend who had a baby a mere month ago is coming to realize how isolated she will be from the group of friends she once had now that she’s unable to participate in spontaneous activities. One of my best friends is a physics student at UC Irvine where she will often spend twelve hours a day in a lab monitoring her experiment. Another best friend from high school is also pursuing a career in dance and yoga while working full time – we rarely see each other and our friendship has been relegated to hours spent on Gchat.

The moments we carve out to spend alone, to see friends, to share with partners are particularly precious and savored because they are so few and far between. Although it can be heart breaking to see certain friendships fall by the wayside, these transitions in life make one value those long-lasting relationships ever more. The friends who understand, assist you and support you on your journey, those are treasured souls and important safety nets in our lives, so even in the busiest of moments when we cannot make time for a lunch, a coffee date, or a board game night – let’s make sure to send them a message to let them know you love and appreciate them.

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