Astronomical musing: Friendships sometimes seem worlds apart

Greetings from Planet Single.

Sometimes it seems like we live on a different planet. There’s no sense of emotional gravity – floating around and never really knowing where you’ll land.

You tend to associate mainly with those in your hemisphere – when fellow single friends start dating someone, it’s like they breathe different air. All of a sudden, their weekends and evenings are taken up and they seem to disappear from the radar screen for weeks or months at a time. When those relationships start to fizzle, then you start seeing those friends around a little more. First little blips – maybe an occasional Sunday afternoon movie or a weekday dinner. Then all of a sudden they’re back, sending e-mails inquiring about your weekend plans.

Sometimes they never return from their relationship journey. Sometimes it extends into permanence, and now the random phone conversations focus only on wedding plans. Their world is filled with cake flavors and color schemes. You want to be a part of it, but they speak an alien language. You wonder if someday you will worry about things like that, but for now you just hope to be able to squeeze your paycheck to pay for one more sushi dinner.

In logical progression, next comes pregnancy. If you’re with two friends who are both in this stage, be prepared for a lunchtime discussion of weight gain, horse-pill vitamins and swollen ankles. If one of those friends is already a mother, try to block out the descriptions of painful labor as you quietly eat your salad. Don’t order anything with red sauce.

The next step is the baby shower. Get ready to ooh and aah over miniature outfits and tiny pink or blue socks. Not having had any babies in my family for several years, I’ve expanded my vocabulary as my friends have babies. Once I was in Target shopping with two baby register lists – it took so long trying to match the items on the list with the items on the shelves: What’s the difference between a bunting, a onesie and a gown? I bought bottles – at least I could recognize those.

Inevitably, after the baby shower comes the baby, and this is when the largest transition in friendships takes place.

These new parents fall into a whole new schedule of their own, and new topics of conversations arise, like what’s been appearing in their baby’s diaper.

I think it’s wonderful – babies really should be the focus of their parents’ lives, but, as I’ve been told, “you can never really understand it until you have kids.”

But here on Planet Single, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the impact that having children can have on your life, hence the reasons that singles often stick together. It’s not easy to grasp the concept of going to bed at 9 p.m. to grab a few extra hours of precious sleep. That’s when many of us are sitting down to dinner.

But the universe is a big place and it’s likely that throughout a lifetime, many of us will travel from one planet to another, gaining knowledge and understanding during these travels.

As we hear tales from other planets, sometimes we’ll look back upon our time there with fond memories and wish we could return. Other times, the stories we hear will make us grateful that we’re wherever we currently are.

This article first appeared in the Jan. 10, 2003 issue of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.

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