One is silver and the other’s gold
(Girl Scout anthem)
Ya gotta have friends
Friends, friends, friends, we will always be
Thomas Hardy declared “New love is brightest, and long love is greatest, but revived love is the tenderest thing known upon earth.” That sentence makes me want to weep, as I fantasize about embarking on reawakened love affairs with beaux gone by. How “tender” that would be.
It’s often stated that it’s difficult to make new friends when you’re older. I haven’t found that to be the case. Maybe people mean that it’s difficult to become deeply connected to new people later in life. Are we more guarded? Embarrassed about all our baggage that stems from our perceived mistakes and therefore fearful of others’ judgment? Which leads to the biggie – that we’ll be rejected.
It usually takes a while to develop a feeling of kinship with another human, and when you’re twelve, time is something you have in abundance. I suspect younger people are much better than we elders at living in the present.
I haven’t given up on new friendships, and have put myself out there – maybe to be rejected – quite a number of times in the past few years. Sometimes the relationship’s a keeper, other times not, but I’m still willing to swap stories of childhood, marriages good and bad, health concerns, favorite movies, and whatever else might connect us with potential new pals.
But there are two types of friendship that are unrivaled in their singularity. One is the longstanding type, an unbroken line since elementary school, or maybe college. It’s the friend with whom you giggled about crushes, who held your hand when your father died, who stood by you when the other kids mocked you for your bad hairstyle, or because your family was weird.
But Hardy’s pronouncement need not apply only to romantic love. I feel a sense of kinship with friends from summer camp, even if I don’t see them. But prompted by a reunion twelve years ago, I reconnected with one camp friend I hadn’t seen in nearly 40 years. Yet we didn’t miss a beat. Although she lives some distance away, we stay in touch. I’ve met her family, including some of her grandchildren. We never run out of things to talk about and I feel I can count on her friendship for always.
I have recently enjoyed a lovely reconnection with two college roommates, and I treasure those friendships. And thirteen years ago, I attended my 40th high school reunion. I spent most of the evening becoming reacquainted with women I’d known throughout our days at John Howland School in Providence, Rhode Island. One – my very first friend – I remembered playing with on the swings in nursery school; we must have been three. A post-reunion dinner turned into semi-monthly get-togethers. My mother once said, “I assume you reminisce about the old days.” “Occasionally,”’I told her. “But we are very much linked together in the present,” as we share our joys, sorrows, and everything in between. There is a profound love for one another that stems from our early association and connects us to this day.
As the docs tell us, “Good friends are good for your health.” Speaking of friends and health, I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of (Parkinsonian) pain while writing this. But a friend just called to invite me to dinner. Besides the good mood this friend always puts me in because of her delightful company, I know I’ll feel better physically as well. Social engagements seem to alleviate some of my pain, probably due to distraction. When invited out, my first impulse is often to decline, mainly due to fatigue but sometimes just feeling lousy, but I try and force myself to go, and I’m always glad I did.
So, stay friendly….and healthy.
Till next time,
Recommendations of the day
The Indian Doctor Charming culture clash series about an Indian doctor and his reluctant wife who relocate to a small Welsh village. Some of you will recognize the star, Sanjeev Bhaskar, as DI Sunny Khan on Unforgotten. Available on Amazon Prime.
Dopesick Michael Keaton stars in the true story of the opioid epidemic. How did it start and who was responsible? Amazon Prime
Love and Mercy Wonderful film depicting the genius and the torture of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. I could listen to that music – especially the Pet Sounds album – all day long. Amazon Prime
12 thoughts on “Make new friends, but keep the old”
Of course we are not as good at living in the present as we were when we were kids – we’ve got so much past to live in!
I did manage to reconnect with a high school friend during the pandemic, by way of Facebook. He’s doing funny videos, playing all the musical parts himself. If you want to check out something fun, you can see them at funnyharp.com.
But as for revived romantic love – while I would be happy to be friends with old lovers, the idea of reviving a love affair with any of them makes me shudder. I’ll pass on that, thank you very much. The best thing about those relationships is that they make me realize how wonderful my relationship is with my wife!
and great recommendations!
Great reading! Friends forever! 🤗
Thanks my friend
Glad you like it!
Beautiful essay! xo from a new friend, Jeanne
Take care, Jeanne.
I too find that going out and doing things with people distracts me from my pain and makes me feel better with my Parkinson’s. However, I’m finding it more difficult lately to sit still in one position, so sitting in a restaurant or cafe is difficult. Ah the quandaries of this disease!
I hear ya!
I really enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you!!
Hi Kids! Yes you. I saw 3 children in the street today, skipping and playing with abandon. You don’t see adults doing that and I wondered why.
I have a friend from college and another post – and we are besties. We live on opposite coasts but talk – yak- a lot. With abandon.
Thru the efforts of others I’ve stayed in touch with people from elementary school. Had a 50th anniversary recently. Fascinating. Makes me think that kids just grow older and become themselves.
Just today I was finally getting around to try to begin, maybe to start, wondering how to finally deal with all my many photo albums I’ve been shlepping thru life. Toss? Digitalize? Sort and reminisce, put back? (Suggestions welcomed)
Tucked into a sleeve in one book was a handwritten letter from 1998- from a first wife, briefly married 22 years earlier post college. When people ask if we had children I say, “only me”. It’s the truth.
I began re- reading it. I didn’t, couldn’t finish. She died 3 years ago. It wasn’t painful to read it’s just that I didn’t want to. So many years ago I’d have given anything to get that letter and now, I just didn’t want to.
Reading Moving and Shaking today has give me the reason to read it.
As ever, you and sensitive and articulate. And readily taking risks sharing your feelings. My thanks for all of this – gives me a reason to pause and take a breath.
If you have not read These Precious Days by Ann Patchen give it a try.
Looking forward to reconnecting in person in October.
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