Sometimes I wonder who I am going to be friends with when I am old. Who will be my “old friends?” I really love connecting with the “old friends” I have right now and I want more “old friends” when I am old.
Recently, a friend I have known for almost my whole life, came to stay with me for a couple of days. She was one of my mother’s best friends and she was one of the best mothers I have ever had. I spent as much time in her house as my own, probably more.
She is an “old friend” who has lived many years, but is not old yet, because she is still as bright and insightful and spirited as she has ever been. We talked for hours – literally hours nonstop. Not only is she kind, wise and thoughtful, but she is one of the few people in the world who holds a very big chunk of my history. This is very valuable to me too. It was harder than I expected to say goodbye at the end of her visit.
It turns out that my life is made up of many chapters of one book, each more separate from each other than I would like them to be, but necessary for my whole story to make sense. There are more chapters than I can even remember.
Growing up. Church group. High School. College. Santa Monica. Young adult. Oregon. Young wife. Homeowner. Nike. Washington, DC. Married again. Ralph Lauren. Young mom. North Carolina. MBA spouse. More babies. New York City. 9/11. New Jersey. Needham. At-home mom. Divorce. Single mom. Working mom. Mom of teens. Mom working hard.
The friends I have from the chapters of my life know we can’t be in close touch all of the time, but I hope they know that I am here for them if they need me. I have needed them and they have always been there for me. We stay friends because we are able to pick up our friendship like no time has gone by, whenever we have the chance. No guilt. No obligation. No judgment. Only freedom to be ourselves because we have known each other for a long, long time. We hold memories of our time together for each other. If it were not for my “old friends,” I swear I would have no memories at all. I am pretty sure raising three children has made me lose brain cells.
I am jealous of people who have grown up, gone to college, been married and raised a family in the same place. Or even done a handful of those things in the same place. It seems like those people must have some kind of escrow of shared memories built up with their “old friends” (who are also their current friends) that can be drawn upon during busier times.
I would like to have “old friends” from this chapter of my life, but I worry that I am so busy at this stage, that I am not able to invest the time needed to create the memories that lead to old friendships. The nature of my current chapter is sort of solitary – busy with kids and working a lot. This might shape up to be a really boring chapter of my story. It all sort of melts together in my mind.
When I think about my life beyond this chapter, I see living in a very cool house in a location friends will want to visit. The beach would be great, but realistically, I will be lucky if I get to live on a lake. The house is set up to be low maintenance and easy for entertaining. I will have very comfortable accommodations for visitors. Cotton sheets, fluffy comforters, big fireplace. I imagine lots of relaxed evenings and big breakfasts with lots of visiting friends.
Then I wonder who will be the “old friends” who visit me? I am not putting as much time into my current friendships as I would like to and my “old friends” feel farther and farther away. The insecure part of me wonders if maybe everyone else is making better friends with other people. The reality is that I have to work hard now. My kids need me now. My patient beau has to fit in between everything else. I am doing as much as I can.
In this chapter of my life, friends are an indulgence I get to enjoy every so often. I hope that the occasional walk, the quick coffee, and the fact that we are all living a similar chapter in separate ways is enough to get us through this busy time without losing each other. I hope I am not the only one feeling pulled in so many directions. I hope that I will have a lot of “old friends” someday when I am old.
How do you fit time with friends into your busy life?