Saturday, December 6, 2008

Old Friends

Today I heard from a long-lost friend. It was a mass email with her updated information, yet it felt so personal; she included me in on the briefest update of her life, and my heart longed to reach out and rekindle that friendship.

It is amazing to me that after all of these years, I still have the capacity to make new friends. It brings to mind that girl scout song I used to sing as a little girl:

Make new friends
And keep the old
One is silver and
The other's gold

A girlfriend and I were walking around in REI the other day (yes, the very one with the Starbucks), and we found ourselves discussing friendship, relationships, etc. We spoke about our differences in relationships. I can have 4-7 fairly close friends with 1-2 who are the closest. She has 1-2 friends who she spends most of her time with and anybody else tends to be put into the acquaintance category. The difference is not better or worse for one vs. the other. Sometimes I feel too stretched thin and wish to only have a few. Sometimes she wishes she has more friends but could not imagine extending herself any further.

Anyway, I digress. Old friendships seem to have a bittersweet tone to them as they become (often) fond memories of good times with much laughter, possibly some crying, and some challenge that has been overcome. Why do they end? I don't know. People move. The change jobs. I think those are usually the two catalysts for spurring people on to finding new relationships. The time and distance apart can be a difficult thing to overcome when two are used to being together often. When all is said and done, I am amazed at how those friendships are much like a disease in remission (a horrible comparison, but bear with me here): The disease still remains, but it is no longer affecting you in the same way when it was present and active within you. But at some point, unbeknown to you, it suddenly flares up just like old times and takes it's old spot within your life- front and center. This can happen because you see each other again (I'm talking about the relationship now, no longer the disease), you get a random email of new contact info, you find each other on Facebook...whatever. The difference is that it is a welcome flare up rather than a dreaded occurrence, and we may not fight against it as we would cancer or limes disease.

Any thoughts?

1 comment:

Elise said...

I find an old friend reaching out like that similar to a long overdue hug. I've been working to reconnect to my friend Liz after we grew apart due to my getting married and focusing on that, then she got married. Having her back is like a part of me is fulfilled--like she's a big chunk of me. PS totally going to introduce you two when she's in Denver, I think you two would love each other.