I don’t.

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I…don’t. (yet)

The cultural push toward “love” leaves acknowledgement of “aloneness” ignored.

Commitment issues? Well, yeah.

Losing friendships sucks. I do it regularly.

When you’re older, like me, 44, you’ve lost dozens–hundreds–of good friends. Things change. Jobs. Children. Marriages. Moving away. Awkward moments that lead to hurt and bad communication. I’m sure there’s other causes on the list.

I’ve always wanted children. I haven’t always, to my mind, been ready to raise children. But for the last few years I’ve been more or less steady and successful financially, I have a good home, I’ve grown up a fair amount. I’m ready as I’ll ever be, just about.

But I’m still not sure I’m ready for marriage. After all, those lost friendships. If I can’t even maintain friendships—which so often seem founded on “not wanting to be alone” rather than the sort of powerful joy and connection I recall from high school (with friends I’ve long since lost touch with)…if I can’t even maintain friendships, how do I expect to mean what I say when I say “I do”?

I’m not closed-minded, or cynical. I would love to hear from you, or those who have friendships not just based on blood or religion but based on, well, affection. What does it take? I wrote a book about this sort of question, after all, and I’m still asking.

I didn’t grow up with models of love or friendship that lasted. I grew up in a sweet, fun, inspired community—but it was bonded by shared experiences within a spiritual community. All too often our friendships are dependent on outward form: we play sports together, we’re involved in the same volunteer organization, we go to school together, we pray together. Take out that outward form, and the friendship fades.

Just this week, I’m confronted by yet another dear, important friendship of mine fading. It’s been fading for a year. It leaves me hurt, lonely, confused, at a loss. I don’t know what to do about it, other than work on letting go.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view.

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