As you know my darlings, I attribute most of my fabulousness to my wickedly delightful gal-pals and on occasion, a smidgen too much of bourbon, the elixir of heaven and all things delicate.
As we age, my friends and I are in less regular contact, yet have a stronger affinity. I chalk this up to a lifestyle more acutely aware of our mortality, and a significantly decreased tolerance for crap. Personal integrity and authenticity ranks high among the common personal characteristics of my friends, as does potential for shenanigans and general silliness.
Throughout the past weeks and months, as life has followed the usual path of twists and turns we’ve come to expect from this mortal rodeo, contact with my friends has waxed and waned with the pull of our grown-up responsibilities.
This morning (yes, darlings, I was up and out before 10am ) I met with an acquaintance for coffee. We hadn’t seen one another in over ten years, but had managed to stay in touch. We hugged as though the years had been days, and caught up with one another’s busy lives with the same ease.
I distinctly remember the last face-to-face conversation with this fellow. He was rushing off to a tennis match and tossed me a few tidbits of ‘older-wiser’ information for writers. I was in awe of his talent, and the number of years he’d been getting paid to do what I loved – write. Today it was different. Both of our perspectives have the soft edges of sea-glass, and it was reassuring to witness this gentle effect of time. As writers, he found his joy in the day-to-day news business of folks who actually want their stories told, and I find my joy writing fiction and poetry as reflection of my other professional passion. More importantly, I think (because I hesitate to speak for him my sweet little peaches) that we’re both genuinely happy for one another.
Throughout the years, age has this beautiful way of polishing the edges and dulling the rough spots. It puts our flaws and desires into perspective, with this wonderful side-effect of peeling away layers of ego so that our empathy and joy take over.
Last night I enjoyed a glass of wine and a movie with a former colleague. His life has taken some surprising turns, but whose hasn’t? Even though we don’t know the minutia of one another’s lives, there is comfort in spending time with someone you’ve known for a while. Not so much of the past matters really, just that you’ve come through it, and have become a better person for it. I guess that’s why my friends are so amazingly fabulous.
All of my long-time friends live at a distance, and whenever we talk or email, it’s like no time has passed at all. We know one another, and really ‘see’ who they are. There is always comfort in having those witnesses to your life, who have known you for years and understand your quirks and reasons without having to ask. They know your wounds, and what shape the scars took as they healed. They remember the young dreamer you once were who is now satisfied with a little garden and the peace of watching your children grow.
New friends bring a different joy, a joy of retelling your story, recreating who you are, and connecting with other lives that you will witness for years and years to come.
Friendship is a precious gift my darlings. Don’t ever waste your time feeling guilty for the time you take to cultivate these precious gems.