Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Not in the playground any more

Re: last week's trouble with friends, I had a revelation last night at yoga, something to do with being upside down, perhaps. Headstands can turn your perceptions on their head too.

I realised that I had been searching for a "best friend", the type girls had when we were twelve, the kind of "best friend" you spend all your time with at school, you giggle together, whispering about everyone else, doing each other's hair, and then talk on the phone to for two hours every night, because you just have to discuss the TV program you just watched or what was number one in the charts.

That kind of best friend.

But I'm not twelve any more and that kind of friend doesn't come along when you're on the wrong side of 35. Unless of course you're lucky enough to still have that best friend from the playground, to have managed to hang on to her through all the twists and turns of twentysomething years.

But I realised you can't make that kind of best friend any more, because we're older, because some of us are in couples - and perhaps because we shouldn't need it. In the years that have passed since the age of twelve, we should have learned to look after ourselves, trust our own intuition, praise our achievements and ride through the rough times.

I'm not saying we don't need friends, has v'khalila, friends are vital! And really good friends are precious commodities, and I treasure them as I should. I am lucky to have J, a great shoulder to cry on, a wonderful PR man trumpeting my successes when I am too English to mention them, who makes me laugh, cooks me dinners and tries to break up the cats when they fight.

But I have to give up on the search for a "best friend". She doesn't exist. And she shouldn't. Because if she is in a couple, then she has other loyalties which, as I came to understand rather bitterly last week, conflict with her friends. She can't be there to giggle with me and only me.

So, feeling a little older and wiser, I get back to life, musing to myself about writers being hermits and about pouring my angst into my fiction. I started knitting a new jumper today, with this stunning yarn that is actually ribbon not wool. (It's Number 5, the top left on the chart above.)

It feels good to be creating something tangible and beautiful, sparkly and unworn, untainted. I can't knit for long because my hands get sore, years of computer use have made them sensitive, despite all the yoga. But I enjoy it while I can.

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