I’ve been living away from the US for a year and a half now. I’ve had two birthdays in Australia, I’ve missed a family Christmas, dozens of birthday parties, engagement parties, and baby showers. I’ve even missed the wedding of one my oldest and dearest friends. And missing the big events does bring the distance between myself and home into sharper perspective, but it’s the daily moments that I miss the most, I think. The coffee dates and brunches, days at the beach and happy hours on weeknights, dog parks and road trips and being able to see my mom and dad much more frequently than every six months. Not that I’m not doing many of these things in Australia, or that the people I’ve become close with here aren’t just as amazing, funny, fun, or intelligent as my friends in the US. But there is a big difference between being a part of someone’s daily life and being another email they put off sending.
Sometimes, you can feel yourself slipping out of other’s lives. Texts, emails, or Facebook messages become further and farther between, then stop. Wedding invitations don’t come. Birthdays pass unnoticed thanks to the international date line. A year and a half seems to be the point where friendship over time and distance is tested, and it’s either pass or fail.
I’m the first to admit that I am a difficult person to stay friends with, depending on your personality and definition of friendship. I’m shit at staying in touch with people, even though my communicative-ness (or lack thereof) is in no way an indicator of my feelings for another person. So I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise when an email scribbled out after months of non-contact goes unreturned. But with lives so busy for people our age – we’re getting engaged, having babies, buying houses, are in a critical stage of our professional lives – I understand that life moves quickly and many things seem much more important than remembering to give someone a call. It’s sometimes difficult to see the world turning without you and knowing there is nothing you can do to participate in these small moments.
As I read this, I know it seems whiny and depressing, which isn’t my intention. Just an observation that even in our hyper-connected world, with the Snapchats and the Tweets and the WhatsApps, it’s still very easy to lose touch.