Updated: May 13, 2020
I have people in my life today that have known me more than 40 years. I was fortunate to reconnect recently with one of my friends from first grade. Our paths may have gone in different directions, but I honestly have never felt like we were truly apart.
With time on my hands, I’ve gone down a lot of different rabbit holes lately. I dove into some old photo albums and grade school memory books that snapped back some great memories. I said to my dad the other day that nobody ever wants to look at old scenery photos. It is the ones with the people in them we cherish.
While looking at the faces of old friends, I reflected that no matter when someone was important to me, or whether they were still in my life, they will always be with me in some way. I would not be who I am, or where I am without every experience and lesson that has come my way. I would also not have gotten there without the people who have walked with me.
I have tried for years to write about friendship. What I write never seems to do justice to the relationships I wanted to immortalize with words. Today I will try again, even if it can’t be perfect. I know nothing ever is, but the love and admiration for people I care about is, because it is genuine and from the heart.
I will admit my feelings really run deep. I don’t think I am different from most people, but I am kind of a lifer when it comes to people. Learning all kinds of relationships can end for many different reasons has been one of the most difficult things for me to accept. I do feel however, that everyone who has been a part of our life becomes a part of us. They are the essence of our being and the very fabric of who we are and who we become.
We are an intricate tapestry woven from experiences, laughter and tears, complete with the patchwork of repairing mis-steps and mistakes. Friendships are our stepping stones, our footbridges, sometimes our tight rope, and the light that leads our way. They take effort and nurturing like anything worthwhile.
If you have been or are in my life, I can guarantee you live in my heart. I cherish you and I will never let you go even if I want to. I could never pull at the thread you’ve woven, or dismantle you from my story.
I have people in my life today that have known me more than 40 years. I was fortunate to reconnect recently with one of my friends from first grade. Our paths may have gone in different directions, but I honestly have never felt like we were truly apart. Another lovely soul I’ve known since grade one reached out to me a couple of years ago and said we should travel, so we did. Since I started sharing more of my writing, another three people I have known that long have sent me messages, or left comments. More recently, a few of us got together for a group zoom visit. In some ways it is like no time had passed. The people from our childhood are so rare and wonderful because our formative years forge our foundation as a person. They are like the loom on which your story is woven. They are part of our origin story.
I went to a small secondary school for 12 years. There were not many kids in our small town to begin with and many of us were rural, bussed to town every day. Out of a graduating class of about 30 people, there were 14 in school with for the entire 12 years. I may not know them well now, or see them often, but I feel so lucky to have had them in my life. So too are the people who came along later in school, those I met working summer jobs and in college and university. Those I met through work,and anywhere else along the way.
I have talked about community quite a bit in my writing. After my friend Doris passed away about two years ago, I set out to reconnect with people I had met who I felt I just didn’t know better due to circumstance. I probably seemed like a bit of a nut at first, but I asked multiple people to go for coffee, lunch or dinner, just to get to know them better. It is harder to make friends later in life. Gone are the days of just meeting on a play ground and immediately deciding you are best friends.
Making friends after 40 is a mindful process. It takes due diligence. I am happy to report several of the people I reached out to have continued to make plans with me and we are building stronger bonds. I have appreciated the new energy they bring to my life. At a time when I felt so much loss, there has also been renewal. There is balance to life–-an ever-changing inventory. I don’t think it is ever too late to add new people and their perspectives if you feel you are lacking, but it will take work .I could not feel more blessed by my existing and new friendship.
To everyone who is now, or has ever been in my life–-it would not be the same without you. Thank you for being a friend.