A scarf against the gusty wind, an umbrella, a black, wool, narrow, very classic coat I just bought, a pair of leather gloves to keep my umbrella-gripping hands cozy, and I was ready. (For a better idea of the dress's colour, click here and enlarge the photo for a close-up -- it's a subtle shimmer of dark colour.)
shoes, jeans, the coat, this dress (scroll down), and the Vince one you see here), and I'm close to ready for any occasion that's likely to pop up in my life.
I wanted to dress up a bit, but my overnight guest and I had lots of catching-up to do Saturday morning, and pyjamas were de rigueur over coffee and the delicious pastries (croissants! pains au raisin!) Paul brought us back from the nearby L'Atelier Patisserie. No time for gussying-up, in other words, but this dress let me feel festive without the fuss.
Being able to go from that late-afternoon event to a quick sushi meal before the opera, on foot and using public transit, braving the elements? While looking good and feeling not just comfortable but yummy-velvet-swishy coddled? This dress is already paying its rent!
And perhaps we will. I've been thinking about friends and acquaintances, how we meet them, nurture them, open ourselves to some, haven't time for others, how they change over a lifetime, collectively and/or individually. I've pulled or been pulled away, geographically and in other ways, from various networks -- ecosystems even -- of friends numerous times in my life, and moving back to the city, away from some very dear friends of longstanding, was a way of controlling another rip in my social fabric. My hope was that by making this inevitable move earlier rather than later I'd have time to develop new friendships to delight and sustain me through my next decades.
This is happening more slowly, perhaps, than I'd hoped, and I must say that it's tougher than making friends while watching your kids play soccer or learn to swim. Tougher than making friends at grad school (even though I was, at grad school, at least 20 years older than the other students). Much tougher than making friends among my neighbours on a small island.
But life experience tells me that it will happen, and right now, I'm fascinated at seeing what's happening for me, socially, while I'm waiting for the BFFs to manifest in my 'hood. Rosemary and I may meet for coffee, and we may or may not feel a connection that will lead to another coffee or lunch. Or we might feel a potential connection but the logistics, the timing, the reciprocal need for a new friend, one of those elements isn't working right now. I'm trying, though, to be open, to trust in process, to allow time, to enjoy meeting people in those moments we have together.
At the opera on Saturday night, I sat next to a lovely woman and we chatted about the opera, a bit about grandchildren, As we left our seats after the applause finally died down, she and I said good-night to each other, and we commented on how much we'd enjoyed each other's company as seat-mates. I said to Paul as we left, "I could see myself being her friend," even wished I could have been bold enough to offer my email address and suggest meeting for coffee. (Have any of you ever begun a friendship this way?)
Instead, I'm thinking of how lucky I am that the friendships I built in our last community are proving surprisingly resilient over the distance. That I've got an international network of social media friends whom I've met "in real life" and who feel, honestly, like good friends although no, they couldn't easily be there for me, or I for them, in a crisis. That I've already felt the potential of acquaintanceships here to develop into friendships. That while I don't have friendships that deep or dependable nearby yet, I do have family, both immediate and extended. That I have a wonderful partner. And that I'm also very content, for long periods, with my own company.
And I'm also thinking of how surprisingly satisfying the fleeting or momentary connections can be as well. Visiting with my opera seatmate Saturday evening, the ninety minutes I spent with an Instagram friend in Portland last month. Lots of ideas about friendships and finding balance in one's social life, and about friendship and moving and ageing. . . . Hoping perhaps we can talk a bit about this over the next few weeks. It's a conversation I tried to start well over a year ago, never quite managed to get back to in any sustained manner, and I'd love to pick up the threads again, so what we might weave out of them, together. . . .