Where’s my center?

I turn 36 next month.

As I was looking at my calendar, I thought about planning a little something. Nothing big, as I hate big. I’ve had parties and dinners to celebrate me throughout the years — from huge gatherings where acquaintances and strangers were invited to intimate dinners with only close friends — but over the past few years, I’ve preferred not to make a fuss over my birthday. I thought this year, getting dinner or drinks with a handful of people in San Francisco might be nice.

But when I tried to think of who to invite, I realized I only have one or two friends in San Francisco I could ask. Both know and are friendly with one another, but aren’t from the same circle. In fact, the various circles I was once part of have broken or dispersed or evolved into their own circles. Somewhere along the way, I was left behind — or, perhaps I chose to go my own way, or didn’t try hard enough to keep in touch.

I’m feeling it now.

I’ve always considered San Francisco my home city, I suppose. Probably by default. But it’s a shadow, a place of my various pasts. There are pieces of my life here and there — in the places I used to frequent, in the loft I own but now rent out, in the few good friends who still live there.

I’ve traveled a lot over the past 20 years, and the people I’ve met in other places — who have become very dear to me — live elsewhere. I love that my friends are scattered all over the world, but that also means I rarely see them in person, and that sometimes — even though I have my husband and a huge family and 36 years of experiences and memories in the Bay Area — I feel as though I have no center.

It’s sad to say that. I don’t have a center. I don’t have a core circle of friends to meet with for brunch, or with whom to plan a weekend away. That outlet is important, and for years, especially when I was traveling abroad often and visiting good friends elsewhere, I thought there was no need for this.

This hole is apparent.

And it’s harder to fill now. I’m not the type of person to go out and actively meet new people, or reach out to acquaintances to build stronger bonds. Do most people do that? Should I do that?

Not sure what this is — aging nomad syndrome?

Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Senior editor at Longreads / Automattic

2 thoughts on “Where’s my center?

  1. Cheri, I totally understand you. Somehow, in the past 10 years , me and my family moved to a different place every year. When it’s a birthday or a festival, we don’t have anyone to invite. It feels so lonely .

  2. Living in different cities/areas of the world causes this syndrome of good friends scattered about but no one /hardly anyone local. And one cannot rely on hubby/partner all the time.

    Aging shouldn’t cause us to be overly selective,but it probably just makes us more aware of who we would like to learn from/hang out.

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