Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Making Friends

I had a pretty uneventful weekend!  Mostly just got a few things crossed off the never-ending to do list like mopping, laundry, an inferential statistics assignment, a solid long (ish) run and some reading.

My coworker and I started a run club here in Hay River.  Last summer, when I was training for my marathon solo, I would have LOVED to have people to run with!  I guess there used to be a run club but it disbanded as people moved away, lost interest and the organizer stopped organizing it.  We've got 2 groups; a couch to 5 km group and a 10 km group.  We had about 15 people initially but our numbers have dwindled significantly.  Luckily (for me) we've still got a core group of about 8 of us that run consistently.  I've been doing most of the runs with the 10 km group.  This Saturday, we ran 9 km.  The pace is a bit slower than I would run on my own but it's worth it to have company while running!

My favorite part of run club is seeing how many people are excited about running!  We've got people who are brand spankin' new to running, people who haven't run in years and are remembering why they loved it back then, and people who have been running consistently for their entire adulthood.  I think for a lot of us, it gives us that extra push of motivation we need to lace up our sneakers and get out the door.  personally, I spent the first half of the summer only running with run club and not doing any runs on my own. But since starting run club, I've really fallen into an "I love running" groove and have been doing 4-10 km about 5 days a week for the past few weeks.

Adventure Walk with Luna
As much as I like to 'blame' run club for my newly regained love of running, Luna is equally to blame.  With the mechanic up at the mine 2 weeks of the month, Luna is at home by herself during the day while I'm at work.  I've got a serious case of dog mom guilt and hate that she's cooped up in the house all day.  We try to get out for either a 1 hour walk or a 4-5 km run every night so she can stretch her legs, and run like the wind.  She's become one of my favorite running buddies!  She'll run ahead to chase a bird, fall behind to investigate a shrub, but always finishes the run right with me at my feet.

Evening Beach Stroll

Another reason I love run club (I could go on forever!) is that it's introduced me to a whole bunch of new people!  I have found it really difficult to make friends since moving here.  I ended up being very close with the other dietitian when I initially moved here because we worked together, were both fresh from internships and University and we were close in age. We got along soo well and I was really sad when her term ended and she moved back to Newfoundland.  Hay River can be cliquey, and since she left, I've had a hard time making friends.  I know a lot of people, and say hi to tons of people in town, but I haven't quite been able to progress from the acquaintance / running buddy to the hang out on weekends / good friends stage.

I have to admit, I have definitely had quite a few 'feel like a loner' moments! Most of our friends are actually the mechanic's friends, and few of them have girlfriends so when he's gone at the mine, so is a lot of my social life.  I always just assumed I was a bit lame but as I learned this weekend, the whole making friends as an adult thing is actually difficult for a lot of people!

Up until adulthood, most people's friends are a result of being in the same class at school, on the same sports team etc. But then you grow up and all move away from each other, find significant others that become your main confidant, have your own family and your priorities change.  I love my girlfriends from the canoe club and University, but everyone is so spread out! Newfoundland, PEI, Nova Scotia, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, San Diego, North Carolina, Alberta. It doesn't help that I myself moved up to NWT after school to pursue my career and ended up loving it (and the mechanic) and staying.  It makes for a lot of Skype dates, phone dates, and texting.  It's always soo nice to chat with friends, and I could not be more thankful for technology that allows us to maintain "virtual" relationships but it's not a replacement for good ol' one on one friends.

I was reading an article in Women's Health Magazine about this exact same issue.  Turns out that it's so common for adult women, particularly young adults who have relocated for jobs, had friends relocate, have reached a new stage of their lives etc to feel like loners and have a hard time making new friends.  There is actually a whole website devoted to bringing women together as friends. It's like online dating but for friendships, called Girlfriends Circles. Not only was there an article in Women's Health, but also in the Huffington Post and Canadian Living.  Each of the articles provides advice and recommends steps to take to make friends.

It's funny how something that comes second nature as kids, becomes really difficult as we get older.  We over think things and let the fear of rejection prevent us from making the first move in making a new friend.  Hopefully I'm not the only loner out there!

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