Thursday, August 13, 2009


I think that one of the most difficult parts of life to relate to others in is time.

Throughout life, we go through countless different stages. Each stage of life brings with it its own set of limitations, chief among those often being time. One of the reasons people suddenly find it easier or harder to relate to others in general is when they've gone through the same situation; this is as true when it comes to time as it does to so many other aspects of life.

What is often difficult for a person is when they switch stages of life and the amount of time they have suddenly changes dramatically. A person who had plenty of busy time and suddenly find him or herself with a lot of free time can be overwhelmed, and start to feel down as they can't seem to fill the time. Another person might be thrilled to have all the free time. On the flip side, a person who had a nice amount of free time may find it hard to adjust to having so little - whether because they have so much to do in that free time as they're accustomed to, or because they simply aren't used to having so much busy time in general.

Beyond the person whose time has suddenly changed are those who know this person: Friends, family, other workers... When a person is used to their friend being in a certain stage of life with a certain amount of time available, they can take for granted their ability to call their friend up and talk, invite him or her out, or the like. When that changes, it can be as hard if not harder on a person's friends and family as it is on the person her or himself.

It's interesting to see this phenomenon repeat itself at so many stages of life: As people move from elementary school to high school, high school to college, college to the working world, single to dating to being engaged to getting married to having kids, from being employed to being unemployed to being employed again... You'll often find that people who have already gone through or are simultaneously going through those same changes understand that change in time on top of the other changes so much more easily. Those who have yet to really face those often have a much more difficult time adjusting.

How often does a person hear someone complain about a friend who suddenly seems to "disappear" when they get engaged? (I've done this complaining recently.) For the person who got engaged, they're simply unaccustomed to the sudden reduction in available time. For their friends, it's weird that their friend is suddenly unavailable. Neither side is "wrong" - it just is.


  1. And that's why, as we age, we feel the loss of others' availability more and more. Just wait, as your girls become independent, you'll wish they had more time (and desire) for you!

  2. I like your thoughts. I guess with every new thing you start you have to leave something behind or reduce the amount of time you have for it, and often that is friends. People rarely intentionally let this happen, but as people's time shifts you are completely right, it just happens.
    Maybe we can all look forward to when our kids (Although I don't have any yet) will be older and we can return to our social forays from our younger years, albeit probably not at bars or nightclubs anymore, but maybe in card nights and barbecues. :)

  3. I totally could relate that feeling, because my best friend was dating my younger brother eventhough I totally encourage them to date (I am shachaden) but once they are dating, I lost my best friend, she literally have to split her time with me and my younger brother. Of course I am human, I tend to be very jealous because I am used that she always available for me when I call but now she said she is hanging out with my brother. Thank G-d I overcome the feeling and just two night ago they were engaged! I am so happy for them and praying to G-d that after one year of marriage that they are not lovesick and obsession to each other and starting to focus on me ;-)

  4. but maybe in card nights and barbecues

    You mean like sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs playing poker and smoking pipes and reminiscing over the days when we used to have teeth? :)

    This post was sad, as true as it is. I've experienced this sort of change many times both in myself and as a result of other people going in different directions. Every time it happens it's kind of sad, although I usually feel sadder as the friend than as the one doing the changing. But I do think that it's the responsibility of both parties to be understanding - friends and family have to understand that the person is going through verious lifestyle changes, and the person should also understand that his/her friends and family are adjusting and being understanding to him/her, and to sometimes try to make time for the people who used to spend more time with him/her.

    But I also believe that if people have a strong enough relationship, they're not going to lose friends as a result of having less time for each other. As long as everyone is understanding and sensitive to everyone else, the other person (on both sides) will appreciate it and feel that he/she has some very good, considerate friends.

    (I hope that didn't sound too convoluted. If it did, just think about the first thing I said - the poker playing on the porch when we all sit in rocking chairs and watch the day turn into night. I think we should all do that one day when we're 70. Hopefully without the reminiscing about teeth part - because I intend to keep all my teeth. Heh.)

  5. Was this prompted by your adjustment to your job?

    This is very, very true, and you explain it well. It happens with retirement, birth of children, end of maternity leave, beginning and end of summer...

    I find it difficult to talk to several of my best friends. While we all have a certain amount of free time for that, the time doesn't match up. And sometimes, time doesn't mach up with energy, and you have to learn to adjust to that- you become a morning person, or do housework at night.

    Perhaps the Jewish idea +of being mekadesh time helps us to realize that we have control over these situations and how they affect us, and that we have the ability to make time as necessary.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

  6. Neither side is "wrong" - it just is.

    You're nicer than I am. The other person is always wrong. makes life simple. ;)

  7. We are all of us contradictory in our behavior at times. We'd like the rest of the world to stand completely still and remain exactly the same while we take time to grow and make changes. We recognize our own changing time but hate it in others. As you say, it is what it is. We need to accept the ebb and flow and catch the moments to reconnect when they present themselves instead of bemoaning how short those moments may be.

  8. Whoa. G. I had to look at that twice before I realized it said G there.