We’ve made the switch. I’ve heard others talk about it, but I can’t believe we’ve finally entered this new phase. It’s such a big transition that I don’t really feel ready for. Inevitably, things are going to change.
The weddings and bridal showers that once controlled my calendar are now few and far between, clearing the way for baby showers and new-parent meals that are gradually becoming more prevalent. Although I love kids and am looking forward to having some of my own one day, I’m not looking forward to the changes that await us as we move into this next phase. Our close group of young marrieds will inevitably begin to taper off as some have babies and others wait, by their choice or not.
As we move through life, we naturally journey through different phases. Many of us will have the pleasure of journeying through what I call the five phases of marriage.
Phase I – Newlyweds
Phase II – Babies
Phase III – Kids in School
Phase IV – Empty Nesters
Phase V – Retired/Grand-Parents
As you enter each phase, you lose, some of your community – no matter how hard you try to keep it the same. When you first get married your relationship with your single friends begins to change and can be quite difficult to maintain. You begin to form deeper bonds with those that are married , which makes it harder to stay in touch with your single friends. The same thing happens when you have kids. Your flexibility changes and you seek other moms to connect with and guide you in your parenting journey. Your time for your friends begins to dwindle. Usually it doesn’t take too long for your friends to catchup, but by then you’ve already moved on.
It’s easy to lose community as you move through each phase in life, but it’s not so easy to gain it. If we don’t put forth effort to connect with new people as we enter a new phase, we might eventually find ourselves alone. That’s a dangerous and lonely place to be.
I was stuck there for a few months. Married while most of my friends were still single. I think that’s why I fear having kids right now. Although we’ve clearly begun to journey into phase II, most of our close friends don’t have kids yet. I don’t want to be the first and be stuck in the in-between again. Silly and selfish, I know, but valid nonetheless. However, it didn’t take long for many of our friends to catchup as we entered phase I. It soon felt like everyone around us had been struck by cupid’s arrow. Now the baby bug is slowly creeping in. If that spreads as fast as love bug did, we might be in for a baby-filled year.
So what phase are you and your friends in? Are you working forward to the next one or content where you are?