Thursday, August 21, 2008

Weddings, Friends and Countryside

True friendship is not being inseparable. It's being separated and nothing changes. - Unknown

That quote sounds kinda obvious, but in practice it's not easy to keep up with everyone. Relationships evolve, people move around, we grow apart.

Having made it through six or so weeks of school, I've now got the relative luxury of a two-week (yes I'm not joking) half-term to relax. It's made me more contemplative of the events of the summer...I mean I was planning on writing something when I got back to school...but school and teaching have a way of taking over your life...hehehe...*

Anyway - over the summer (and since the beginning of the year) several of my friends and acquaintances have got married. I think that weddings are these heightened social occasions where you can learn more about yourself and your attitudes to life than in other places.

I mean at weddings - especially if you're relatively peripheral to the bridal couple - it's easy to end up repeating the same niceties about career, family, relationship status, interests and all that. I became very practised putting together a short social vignette about myself for easy consumption - perhaps I'll shorten it to a haiku one day...

Being of the internet-using-blog-reading-pda-wielding-social-networking generation that I am, I almost felt that I could carry a printout of the ubiquitous facebook profile around with me...save on the talking just say "Here - read this" and be done with it...if they feel like responding - yay!

But these weddings - wonderfully celebratory that they were - they were places that I found out that I'm quite happy with my lot in life. I found that I'm not completely social inept, I (kind of) enjoy my job, and care about my family (most of the time).

Or perhaps it's just me keeping up appearances?

Weddings are also places where old social circles get together - and get all nostalgic about the past. University gatherings can be great or hellish for this - dependent on your outlook. (Actually a night out with work colleagues - especially if they're teachers - can be particularly hellish for some!) I received some nice compliments from people I went to university with (one was that I was her first male friend - before me, she never knew she could just be friends with blokes)...it's true - I just seemed to fall into the old role I occupied while at university (you know life of the party, funny, cheeky general all-round wonder-man...erm I exaggerate).

I think friendship has nothing to do with the frequency with which you see someone - it's about the strength of the connection, and maintaining that connection. It's about how you leave the interaction that's important...you know if you leave on a low or with anything left unsaid...that's when problems start.

That doesn't mean friendships are irreparable...

What made the summer even more contemplative was the fact that we were driving through England's Green and Pleasant Land from one wedding to another. Of course the Great English Summer Weather played its part - from lashings of rain to bright sunshine, it seemed that it added a more thoughtful air to everything.

I might have averaged 90 m.p.h. on the drive up to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, and I might have had a nice weekend away, but it still felt like a summer.

And only now I've written this do I feel like Autumn has arrived and Summer has passed...

J.

This post was brought to you by: friends, weddings, and the English Countryside.

*The thing was - this post is dated when I actually started it...but I finished it yesterday!