Our reign of sunshine seems to have come to an end. And all this week there’s only been rain and a dull greyness that seems particularly wrong in May. However just before the weather turned, I met up with Livie one sunny (albeit rather windy) day last week and together we went to Mylor.
Barely a five minute drive from Falmouth, I feel this should be somewhere I’m better acquainted with. Sipping the afternoon away on the pier at The Pandora Inn, is something I want to make a much more frequent occurrence in my life!
Naturally, this is just what Livie and I did; soaking in the sunshine and later on going for a walk along the public footpath. Whilst talking about all the inevitable things that go through your mind when you’re in your early twenties and graduating. I’m sad to say Livie will be moving back home in a few weeks, so this afternoon by the water was to be our final meeting – at least for now.
All this talk of life changes in your twenties and the people that come and go with it, got me thinking. Thinking about friendships in particular, especially as I’ve often found friendship to be a fickle and peculiar thing. No good with politics and subtext; popularity games and charisma. I would find things so much easier if we could say things how they are.
I’m the kind of person who never feels lonely by themselves. Only when in a party. Stood in the kitchen of someone’s university flat. Holding my cup of wine and feeling completely disconnected from everyone around me. Isolated in a crowded space. Uncertain of how to make the approach. Kick off the conversation when my insides are wriggling with the idea that I am wasting space in here. I should go home. I like being alone.
At about sixteen I decided to stop chasing people. If they wanted to be in my life they’d be here. Not that you don’t make an effort, but to keep holding onto a hand that’s already let go, is to be dragged behind someone who’ll never think to glance back. It’s no kind of friendship at all.
Now in my twenties, I find friendship all the more elusive. University friends were few and far between, but upon graduating the few I knew left the county in which I lived. And I found myself in workplaces that felt more like battlegrounds. Where friendships were not to be forged and females in their twenties or thirties were nowhere to be found. I made friends through the internet, discovering others in Cornwall who wrote blogs and hosted creative online projects. And it made me chuckle to think of the years we’d been told not to talk to strangers on the internet. When the world is online you can always find your people.
But still in our twenties, we are becoming. In these years we create ourselves and construct our lives; chasing careers, finding prospective partners, finishing education, moving for that promotion, getting married, settling down, making babies and buying that first house. I find these things aren’t always conducive to friendship. It’s still the same when we sit down for coffee, after a year apart, miles apart. We can pick things up where we left off. But personally, I’d love to do this more. To meet up every week or every month. To not have to lay things down at all, because I’m finding making new friends in my twenties so hard.
And all too often I wonder if it’s just me. I suspect I’m as vanilla as they come. I like staying up late and in staying in. Cosy and calm and candlelit, with books and cats and French films. Music by Jack Johnson and Simon and Garfunkel. Strong coffee and red wine. I get that I’m not the person who wanders into your life and turns it upside down with their whimsy and unaware self-confident delights. I am composed and reflective and quite often quiet. I am prone to bouts of thoughtfulness; inspecting my person to see if it is, in fact, me that inspires the disinterest in you.
But then I walk right out of your university flat. Out into the night that is bright with streetlamp light and all feels so serene and electrically beautiful. All indigo and gold, with words on the wall; all lit up and whispering and musical. And whilst walking alone – soul full of the world – I consider how remarkably underrated is solitude.
Portraits by Olivia Grace