Several weeks ago, while the fam still lived in Connecticut, we attended a surprise 30th birthday party for one of my dearest friends. It was a beautiful celebration and I quite selfishly enjoyed the chance to gather with our mutual friends just days before the big move. But as we walked toward the parking lot after the festivities, I began to cry.
We got into the car and the CDR sat quietly for a moment to let me collect my thoughts. I finally figured out the source of my tears. “I turn 30 in six weeks,” I told him, “and you can’t throw me this party. There will be no one to invite.”
Now, I said that these would be slightly exaggerated adventures, and I have just proven myself right. If we threw me a shindig, I’m sure that my new neighbors would come, as well as our new friends K&E (see previous blog). But they don’t know me the way my Connecticut friends know me. They don’t have history with me – stories to tell, memories to share, jokes to repeat. They don’t even know my last name, much less the fact that I turn 30 in just five days.
I’m not trying to throw a pity party (seriously, no pun intended). In fact, I suggested to the CDR in a moment of optimism that he’ll just have to throw me a huge 31st-birthday celebration next year, when we might actually have an invitation list. He laughed and agreed, and I’m gonna hold him to it.
I turn 30 on Monday and, while we have figured out a lovely way to mark the occasion (we’re leaving the kids with our in-laws and reliving our first date in Portland, Oregon), the fact remains that I have been in Seattle for six weeks now and I still don’t really have any friends.
As we got into the car today after a 4th-of-July BBQ aboard the CDR’s new boat, I started to cry all over again. This time I knew why. “Can we go home now?” I asked. “Not to the house we rent. Can we go home now?”
I know the answer to that question, even though I sometimes hate it. This is my home now. Seattle is where we live because it’s where the Coast Guard has sent us, but Seattle is home because… well, because if it isn’t, then I’m homeless.
It appears that it is time to pull out the personality toolbelt and get to work building this new home. For me, the foundation is finding a good church and figuring out the quickest way to all bookstores, Starbucks, malls, and dog parks within a 10-mile radius (now you know my hobbies!).
Once that foundation is built, I’ll raise up a structure of playgroups, open gyms, yoga classes, and book club meetings.
And hopefully, by the time I turn 31 (in one year and five days, but who’s counting?), I will shingle my new home with a roof-size invitation list of friends.