(Click here for Health update, or look  below – thanks for checking in on me! This post has nothing to do with my brain; I need to start writing about other random things)

Life is marked by the Rites of Passage which are undertaken as we grow older.

Childhood leads to adolescence, which leads to adulthood, which, more often than not,  follows a fairly inevitable timeline, which you might remember from elementary school recess, sung in the most obnoxious little kid voice you can conjure up: “(insert boy name) and (insert girl name) sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage!” 

Wow, that little song was annoying. What it describes, though, is something I’m seeing more and more in my friends as we all get older.  You enter adulthood as a single person, relatively free of ties (excepting those amazing single moms who might have had a baby as a teenager, and are continue to raise them courageously).  This is Single Land; you can pretty much come and go as you please, planning is a relatively low-drama affair, and socializing has the potential to reach in all directions. 

Then, along the way, the citizens of Single Land start pairing off, tree or not, and entering into Marital Bliss.  This adds an extra layer of complexity to the planning process, and ushers the new pair into Marriage Land.  While in Marriage Land, one tends to flock towards other residents of Marriage Land, simply because couples might more naturally fit with other couples in social settings.  Residents of Marriage Land can still easily step back into Single Land for occasional socializing, since responsibilities remain largely the same (just with a permanent roommate).

However, more often than not, a couple’s stay in Marriage Land is merely a temporary step towards entry into Marriage Baby Land, when that first beautiful little baby appears on the scene.  The moment that first pregnancy announcement goes out, everything changes.  New social doors open up, new invites are extended, and a new world has been breeched.  Once in Marriage Baby Land, it seems that the door to Single Land is all but permanently closed, as the residents of Single Land now have little in common with their proud new parent friends.  Old friendships are essentially put on hold until all involved find themselves reunited in Marriage Baby Land, although a hand can still be easily extened to those in Marriage Land.

As a single, childless adult, I couldn’t be more happy for my friends when they find someone they want to spend their lives with, and then, when that time comes, I rejoice with them at the new life they bring into this world through the birth of a new little baby.  And, yet, in the midst of these celebrations, and amongst all the happy words, hugs, and memories of the strong bonds of friendship, I can’t help but feel sad…

Sad, because with each wedding, and each baby annoucement, it seems that I’m losing more friends.  And, I really miss them. 

Sure, we still talk, and even get together from time to time, but it’s just not the same.  Of course, I understand how different my life priorities are from those of my friends with spouses & children, and I’m not belittling those things.  I’m just sad about losing my old friends…

Is that so terrible?  To see weddings almost as a funeral of sorts, and a new life as symbolic of the death of what was. 

I suppose, should I find myself travelling up that ladder someday, I’ll tell my single friends that marriage & kids won’t change anything between us.  But I’ll know better, even if I do really hope that old friendships will stand the test of time.  New phases of life mean many elements of the old ones can’t make the journey; otherwise, what would be so new about them?

In the meantime, though, I can just try to maintain my friendships as best I can, be patient with the friends whose life obligations give them less time for their adult friendships as before, and not feel too guilty about my missing old friendships…