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May 16, 2022
After college, I packed up my junk, stuffing them in the back seat of a teal Ford Escort (for the full picture, I must also tell you the bumper is held in

photo taken by Lauren Krysti

After college, I packed up my junk, stuffing them in the back seat of a teal Ford Escort (for the full picture, I must also tell you the bumper is held in place with duct tape. ), and headed east to Milwaukee ; the land of dairy cows and the promise to advance my career. At this point, the world has been foretold and is holding its breath waiting for the economy to go up in smoke. People started losing their homes, vehicles, and jobs just as I was trying very hard to get a paycheck to cover some cheap rent, student loans, and maybe, if I was diligent savings, a new bumper. Like many people, I am my only backup. That meant that the panic and pressure of finding my livelihood didn’t allow much space for everyday realities like familiarity, friendship or social life.

So I moved into an old studio apartment with no furniture but a place to sleep. I started as an adult, where I was the least mature for a couple of decades. I packed my cheap little lunches. I get to the office early and stay late. I spent so much time wondering how I never thought about the fact that most people spend their entire lives just sitting. And now I am one of those people in an upholstered wheelchair who has seen better days. I went for a walk. I listened to a lot of music, read a lot of booksand became terribly lonely.

The internet has bragged that Milwaukee is famous for its outdoor festivals, farmers markets, and activities where people will drink beer and paint their sports teams’ loyalty on their chests. That seems like something that I might, with a few modifications, get behind. And wow I tried. I awkwardly drag myself to a bar that looks happy with appetizers and drink specials in the noble mission of making small talk with someone, anyone, who could become acquaintances. I would go to concerts myself, check out the weekly events listed in alternative news sources, and try to join a book club. Funny enough, the internet never mentioned debilitating isolation. It’s a lie.

However, that experience made me realize how difficult and weird it can be to do something as simple as making new friends as an adult. At a time when we’ve all had plenty of practice time.

All that trying becomes exhausting. And all that loneliness is unbearable. So I ended up going back to Minneapolis – where the familiar faces and stories are. A place where I not only know people, but I also know people who are still trying to make sense of what is called the real world. With fellow human beings, who often feel uncomfortable without the mandatory warmth of community, we can take it for granted.

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For so many reasons, I really don’t regret not sticking with it. Whatever “stick it out” means. However, that experience made me realize how strange and difficult it is to do something so simple. make a new friend as an adult. At a time when we’ve all had plenty of practice time.

But why?

Is it because we are all well versed in the ancient art of happiness reordering? (As guilty as being charged.) Is it because we’re all too busy? Overwrought? Do we have enough friends? Does exchanging numbers with a new acquaintance feel so daunting that it gives us a stomachache? Whatever it is, why do we often let it hold the key to what can become a very important, loving relationship — a relationship worth holding onto for years to come. ?

As you enter adulthood, life tends to be more and more crowded. There are demanding careers and nagging toddlers, Tinder records to read, and health insurance premiums to pay. Life gets hectic and sometimes it feels hard to keep up our oldest, dearest relationship. Or our romantic relationships. As an adult, the luxury of free time is folklore, so the effort to find and keep a new friend may not only seem inconvenient, but it also adds a lot of work to existing slogans. yes. Talk about not thank you. So we prioritize based on values, emotional and geographical proximity, like-mindedness, and reciprocated effort. Unnecessary.

I believe we all know, more than ever, that meaningful time with others we love and cherish is not just a nice thing to have, it’s an absolute must.

But you know what else is a necessity? People. Friendship. In fact, is anyone else here vaguely remember search from the American Psychological Association concluded that loneliness poses a greater threat to public health than obvious culprits like car accidents or heart disease? I recall glancing at a very scientific headline that equates the loneliness of smoking multiple cigarettes a day and wondering what effect those days of crying in that sad little studio apartment might have had on my muscles. my internal organs. And, friends, that study was done in 2017 – years before we even knew how lonely our world could be (and will be). I believe we all know, more than ever, that meaningful time with others we love and cherish is not just a nice thing to have, it’s an absolute must.

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So I guess this is what I’m saying that I’ll try — even though I’m very busy and very tired and a huge fan of going to bed before 10 p.m. — a.) Be a good friend more and more present to the people I have now and b.) reach out to the people on the periphery in my life who give me latent vibes about who you really are. And maybe you can consider the same? Even if it were, since it definitely is and I’m guaranteed to do it (apologies in advance, future friends), very strange. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t. But hey, you’re never too old to make new friends. And all the things you have now, the best things – with the natal chart you memorized and the last time they cried accidentally logged into your brain – they were also perfect people. strange.

April (Swinson) Smasal spent her formative years in Wyoming, where her career options were limited to queen or rodeo writer. Facing the lure of an impressive belt collection, she chose from thing. Now, she’s a copywriter and writer-writer living in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband, Nick, the boy Hank Danger and the cute French Bulldog Arnold E. Biscuits.

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