I recently discovered a new podcast to add to my ever growing list of faves.
It’s called “Call Your Girlfriend” and it’s dedicated to long distance besties everywhere. Ahhhh. It’s no wonder I was instantly drawn to it. It’s all pop culture weaved in with politics and feminism. Total slam dunk, IMHO.
It got me thinking back to those first few months adjusting to life without my lifelong besties being within reach (aka a 20 minute car ride).
It was tough! I’m not completely naive, I knew moving would be tough but I think the bulk of my energy went into thinking about how this would impact my family relationships.
But life without my friends – I was unprepared.
For some strange reason, I had compartmentalised those feelings with “we’ll catch up when I visit” and “you can come visit me too.” And that was that.
“I’ll miss them, but we’ll still see each other”, I told myself.
The reality was harder.
Long work weeks without dashing down the road after dinner to sit at the same local cafe we’d been sitting in since we were sixteen, laughing uproariously, offending the nearby patronage.
Friday nights that I didn’t quite know how to fill. My partner at a work event, my colleagues off home to be with their families and friends. Couch and movie time it is, I guess (an appetising combo though, I’ll admit).
No Saturday brunches or post-yoga walk dates.
No Friday night movie nights with the biggest bowl of popcorn ever and a non-stop lineup of 80s and 90s chick flicks.
No Saturday nights crowding into our favourite BYO dumpling bar followed by dancing until we were forced to take ourselves home for aching feet and voices that wouldn’t return until deep into the following day.
And visits home to Melbs? Between being booked solid with family commitments (love you guys), and coming down with the flu and, on a separate occasion, food poisoning (true story – no idea how I managed that?!), the catch ups were few and far between.
I was missing my people. The intense comfort and ease that only comes about with time spent with “old friends”. The ones you’ve been through it all with. The ones who never fail to make a shitty day so much sunnier.
Despite the catchy podcast title that captured my attention, we’re historically not great at calling each other. A hangover from years of relying solely on text messaging and a preference for catching up in person over a bowl of steaming pho – but that’s not ideal when trying to commit to this whole long distance besties thing.
And when we do talk – those are the best moments. We hang up, promising we’ll do better, asking ourselves why don’t we do this more often? A perfect substitute for the glory of an in-the-flesh catch up it is not, but it’s still pretty great.
I haven’t found anyone in Sydney yet that can make me laugh like they can, and I think I’m a few years (and more than a few drunken conversations on bathroom floors at house parties) off having the sort of close friendships here that I relied on so much back home in Melbourne.
I’m not looking to replace anyone – my closest friends are next level Beyonce-style irreplaceable – but it is nice to finally be settling into a new normal. More comfortable with the quieter times, just me and my partner. Better at picking up the phone for a chat. Using the ceaselessness of modern day communication for good instead of evil. The constant buzzing and pinging, often exhausting, instead a glimpse into the small, insignificant moments that previously only physical closeness could provide.
And by embracing opportunities to try new things and meet new people, we’ve made new friends! New friends who have been so generous, driving us around and showing us some of their favourite spots in Sydney. Inviting us into their homes, introducing us to their friends. Whiling away the hours over a good bottle of red wine.
Maybe one day they too will become a treasured inclusion in the “old friend” category, not replacing anyone, rather allowing it to grow wider capturing all the people who help make both Melbourne and Sydney home.