Friday, May 13, 2016

Self-Catering (Aydn)

I began writing this post during a study break in a computer lab. Tired, caffeine deprived, broke, wearing the same jacket I had worn for the past three days. I began writing because I had promised Trevor I would send him a blog post. However every time he checked in to see how far I was, I realised that the promise had slipped my mind and I had therefore yet to even select a page or google doc upon which to draft the post. This led me to think about a similar anomaly happening in my social life where promised coffee dates, boys nights out, dinners on Kloof Street and games nights at my place have all just not been happening. I considered how these promises had also been made. Yet they had slipped the minds of those who promised them, and often times also of those to whom they had been promised.

But why? 

What was happening? 
What is preventing these promises from being fulfilled? 
What is distracting me or drawing me away from all that I promised and that has been promised to me? 

At this point I should mention that I moved out of residence and into my own bachelor apartment at the beginning of this year. This change although exciting and with many advantages, also brought with it a few changes that are arguably disadvantages. Firstly, when I lived in res, friends were a door, a corridor, or a block away. The effort to see them, make plans with them and visit them was less. Secondly, when I lived in residence, my residence was on campus. It was situated close to the library, to lecture venues, to Jammie stops (student transport) and it also came with a catering service that cooked my food, served my food and cleaned the dishes and utensils I used in the process of eating this food. 

The University of Cape Town's Jammie Shuttle Service

Side note: Oh and congratulations if you found it disconcerting that I mentioned my social life and my academic life second. Returning to the discussion at hand: 

Now that I live alone, in an apartment somewhere in suburban Cape Town. Finding available friends requires a phone call and a walk up the road or to the train station. In short, more effort than it previously did. Getting to campus requires a walk, traversing a couple of pedestrian crossings (think about that long wait for the green man at the robot to flash and make noise). Then as is the case at my university, I have to hike up the mountain to get to class, likewise late nights at labs and a trip to the library is now literally an excursion (packed lunch and all). Catering has now become self-catering and, to be honest, between purchasing and cooking food I occasionally struggle to make time to (or forget to make time to) actually sit down and eat. My one friend barely recognised me when he saw me on campus earlier today. The last time he saw me was late yesterday evening…. 

However, I digress. The question is why I and my friends have been reneging on our promises. The answer is simply that between, graduating, writing a thesis, managing a new job, learning how to juggle catering with planning your route to and from campus we often forget or struggle to find a way to reach one another at a time that has some mutual convenience. We are grappling with learning to adult before the bigger responsibilities of adulting creep in and confuse us even further. 

Life gets hectic and it becomes more and more difficult to stay in touch with people. I enjoy reading articles on 20 Heartbreaking Things You Learn in Your 20s and similar threads. All of these always mention that a decreasing size of your friend group and a sense of feeling that you are losing touch with people who you thought would be there forever. Sad as it sounds it is quite a sobering truth and…. 

Apologies, I had to pause for those of you arguing with me and boasting about the 500 friends you have kept since high school. Well done, but you are the exception. is quite a sobering truth and not necessarily a bad thing. Think about it. You will continue to meet people. You have probably met and bonded with many people. You will never lose those memories, those experiences, those lessons [those Instagram and Facebook photos]. However, realising that you may lose touch with many people who, right now, are very dear friends may be a necessary idea to accept. Once you accept it you can then think about how you will move past it, overcome it or fight it (we all have that one friend who wants to fight everything and everyone). 

How you deal with it is up to you. 

Personally I will approach it as an opportunity for growth. I will continue to meet as many new people as I can, and get to know as many people as I can, and open up to them in an attempt to connect, and possibly build friendships and long lasting relationships. However, should I find myself at a point where I grow distant from those I consider friends. For whatever reason if we chat less, spend less time together, lose interest in each other. I will accept it gracefully and move on. On a more proactive front, I will use these experiences to ask myself what I really want out of my life and the relationships in it. I will use these experiences to help myself grow and improve the relationships to come, plant the seed for those few relationships that may last forever. 

In coming to an end I am reminded of an Elvis Presley song (originally by Ray Price) that my father always played (still does) for my brother and I, 

 “Don't look so sad, I know it's over 
But life goes on and this old world will keep on turning 
Let's just be glad, we had some time to spend together 
There's no need to watch the bridges that we're burning

Aydn Parrott's first guest post was 'Wait and Hope'

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