Maintaining friendships was once so simple. As a child you only needed to walk across the street to your best friend’s house, as teenagers it was school that brought you together each day and in university you spent hours together studying, procrastinating and drinking countless beers—these phases were the Caterpillar stages, you roamed around, but slowly and mostly stayed in close proximity to each other.
Then comes the butterfly stage where jobs, relationships or a quest for new adventures propels you to spread those wings and fly to someplace new–often times to far away distances. It’s exciting as you leave the cocoon and explore the world on your own, creating your own path, and a new chapter to life–after all you only live once, right? So you might as well take advantage of using those wings.
As you create your own path, you form new friendships and a new home. You become engrossed with daily life and sometimes for days, weeks, months even you forget about the life you once lead during another time–it is a chapter in your book, but you’ve turned the page–you’re story is moving forward. But just like a book, if there is a supporting character in chapter 1 doesn’t mean you can’t bring him back in chapter 10, in fact, it’s even better that you do. It’s familiar to the reader, it’s reminding him of the events he read prior. There is an instant connection of understanding to this relationship. No explanations are needed, the writer only needs to carry on the story.
As I look at the friends I have made over the years, most of us now are spread out across the U.S. or across the globe. We would hang out each day if we could, if we lived close to each other as the connection is still there, but it is the distance that divides our lives.
This weekend I went to Switzerland to visit Sam, who lives in Bern, and a friend who I haven’t seen in six years as well as Beck and Strom, who I consider to be two of my closest friends but who now live in Pasadena,CA and Boston, MD. Seeing all of them filled my heart with happiness–overflowing happiness actually, I can’t remember the last time I smiled and laughed so much (to the point that I probably now have about 4 new permanent wrinkles around my eyes!)
I may not see these friends everyday like I use to, but when I do see them I am truly thankful and feel lucky to still have them in my life. It is comforting to pick up where you left off and to not have to go through the “get to know you phases” of new friendships. They know me, I know them and we just enjoy being around each other and making new memories.
So my challenge to you is to get on the phone or send an email and make plans to meet up with friends that are still dear to you but that you don’t get to see on a regular basis. Spend that extra $100 on a plane ticket, take a day or two of work and make the effort to keep the friendship going. There are incredible things in life, but it is truly the relationships you make with other people that are the most important, and special!
P.S. I am back in Seattle on December 10th and will be at my parents in Eastern,WA over Christmas and in January. I look forwarding to meeting up with all you wonderful friends that I haven’t seen in months, or years!!! It is going to be wonderful to see you again! 🙂