As an introvert, I value my alone time.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to be around people.

This weekend, we filled our house with people in honor of our little man’s second birthday, as well as his baptism.  Friends and family braved the worst winter ever to come celebrate with us, and it was wonderful.  My dad, who loves to cook, whipped up some of the most delicious mac-and-cheese you’ve ever tasted, as well as bean dip that disappeared pretty much immediately.  My mom cleaned every nook and cranny of our first floor to make it presentable for guests.  (Mom, you can move in with us any time!) And we chatted, laughed and socialized with friends both old and new.

A real celebration.

In the aftermath, however, I’m realizing how alone I’ve often felt in the nearly two years since we moved.  In Texas, we were established, and we had a wonderful network of friends.  Our house was always filled with people and we went out to dinner or happy hour with friends after work regularly.  Even after we had a baby, our house was open to friends visiting almost right up until the day we left for good.

Building a new network of friends in a new place isn’t easy.  And there’s lots of commentary and theory out there in the blogoverse on why it’s hard to make friends in your 30’s.  From what I’ve seen and experienced first-hand, I’d say it basically comes down to this:

Life gets in the way.

I don’t go out for drinks after work any more, because I’d rather come home and spend time with my family.

I’m not up for an evening out on the town because my son wakes up at 5am, regardless of how late I’m up the night before.

I don’t have people over for dinner because my house is a mess and I don’t have the energy to cook a big meal.

The thing is, I really want to have adult friends.  The times we have had people over, or gone out to a social gathering, I’ve had such a good time.  And every time, once it’s over, my wife and I will look at each other and say, “That was so nice.  I’ve missed this.”

But life…it just keeps on getting in the way.

So, dear friends and colleagues who are reading this, please know…I miss you.  I want to hang out.  As I told one of our friends, who lives not-too-far-away, at last weekend’s birthday shindig, “We’re always here.  Just show up one afternoon.”

Now, I wouldn’t extend that offer to just anyone, mind you…but if I do extend it to you, know that you’re special.  You’re my friend and I want to see you.  Even if my house is a mess.

Consider yourself invited.