thank you for being a friend

When in school, it’s easy to find playmates. It might not always be easy to maintain friendships, but there are peers abound. Young children are like dogs: they see one of their kind and are naturally intrigued and inclined to give a sniff. Well, kids don’t sniff, but you know what I mean. As we grow older, we lose our natural curiosity about one another, we become busier, hurried, and meeting fellow adults loses its interest. We’ve developed standards that would alienate some or all of the people we cross paths with, and exclude them from our circle of friendship.

Work is a place to make adult friends, because working with people tends to imply common interest/skillset. Perhaps at a social club or adult classes we’ll come across people who might think like us or be curious in the same way as us. But overall, there are more bricks in the wall as adults, then when we were kids. And I believe that overall, we’re not as eager to make friends.

At 47, I feel like I’m finally myself enough to have friends that are of interest to me as I am now. The friends I’ve had for decades are amazing, they’ve stood the test of time, and some of them came from the aforementioned pool of easy friendship making institutions. I’m also here to celebrate friends that I’ve bonded with more recently.

Making friends in midlife is an exciting gift. We don’t always spend time talking about our favorite colors or movies, we might not ask about what we were like in seventh grade, because what we’ve learned is that the present matters more. Who are we now? Where have we landed on this incredible journey of life? How can we support one another as we worry about our children growing up, and our parents growing older?

By now, we’ve established rules of engagement and healthy boundaries. This helps to keep out the riffraff, and to find the treasures to grab onto. We’ve lived more life, so we have more interesting stories to tell and can relate to one another in a way we couldn’t in fourth grade. We have advice to share and the patience to listen. And we’re seeking peaceful, easy relationships because we recognize that life is difficult, friendships shouldn’t be.

Well, the above is what I’m looking for. I’m not into drama, gossip, narcissists, or people who don’t understand me. They can keep walking. Lately, I feel like I’ve gotten really lucky finding people who give as much as they take, and who love to laugh as much as I do. Friends who are seeking comfort as opposed to flash.

I remember my father describing love as a pair of comfortable slippers or shoes. You can put them on, knowing they won’t hurt your feet, they’ll keep you protected, they’ll keep you cozy. And that’s how I think of my circle of friends now: reliably cozy and safe. The net of friendship is a place to laugh, cry, share, get wild, try new things, and know that in the end, they’ve got my back, just like I’ve got theirs.

So, if I’ve known you for my entire life, or I’ve come to know you more recently, understand that I am grateful for your kindness, your peace, your support, and for the laughs. May we continue laughing together and holding each other up for the rest of our years.

I love words. Words swirl and dance around in my head. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign the words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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