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A strange thing happened as I got older;  I got to know myself. It turned out that while I was still the outgoing, social girl I had always been, at my core I was quite introverted. It restored my batteries to have time alone. I felt more in control of my life when I had time to reflect. Having lived in my own place without roommates or partner, having brought up a child and started working for myself, having come through a difficult and devastating illness, I learned to treasure who I was as well as my time alone. But this can be very confusing for people who have known you in the past and expect you to still be the same and often treat you accordingly. What helps is to let close friends in on the things you’ve discovered and learned about yourself. I know what I value and what I believe in, I know what makes a true friend and who to avoid so it’s difficult to pretend in the face of superficiality anymore. Consequently, I find myself a little impatient in certain social situations!

Whether these new personal notions came through a breakup, serious counselling, illness or a spiritual experience, expectations are everything in relationships. People will be much more understanding and agreeable once they know what to expect. Then you get to stop feeling like you’re either letting people down, or letting yourself down.  Change is a huge part of growing older. Tastes change, hobbies change, habits change. Don’t just embrace it, help the ones you love embrace it too.

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