My conversation with a close and good friend of mine sparked the thought for this post. We were doing some catching up and as usual asking about mutual friends. I ended up sending him photos taken eighteen years ago at my birthday. We travelled down memory lane and how time had flown. It happened without any conscious monitoring on our part and we find ourselves still friends, after having weathered several storms together.
We’ve known each other for twenty-years. Yes, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can proudly make that statement and be happy when doing so. The speculation about my age is now rife, but I stick to my story that I’m still not a day over twenty-one…
I grew up listening to my Dad sprinkle his stories with the staggering number of years he’d known his friends, thirty, forty and counting, I was always awed by the figures. I never got tired of the stories, even though I could rattle some by heart. The affection and nostalgia that each telling brought could be heard in his tone and seen in his countenance. I secretly hoped that I’d be in his shoes one day and sure enough, here I am doing the same thing!
I don’t hold to the theory of a best friend and I’ve often wondered at those that can point out a single person as theirs. Recently, I was trying to figure out the person I could confer this singular honour on and found that it wasn’t possible. I wasn’t sad at this realisation but glad I could put several people into the slot of friends.
Within that category I found that I also had good friends, close friends and the more intimate sort. If I was to draw a Venn diagram (good old maths!), there would be people that intersected and that made it more real too. Using modern parlance, I could carve out a sector that could also be termed as my BFFs. So I guess that means that my previous assertion has been strengthened.
I’ve known my primary and secondary school mates for thirty-one and twenty-eight years respectively. Some of them I’ve not seen in the past decade and others I interact with more regularly. The level of comfort I experience in those circles is different from what obtains with those I’ve known for five years.
Certainly we’ve all changed (in various ways) and maturity is necessary in order to make headway in life, but certain ‘airs’ necessary to some aspect of our lives are absent when we relate with each other. I like to hope so anyway. I know I’m not the only person that has people like that in her life. The family is the first place for this and gradually we discover others we can kick back and just BE when we’re with them, nothing else required and no questions asked.
As the relationships become more intimate, you also get challenged about what’s going on with you. Your progress is of the utmost concern and questions you might have been afraid or hesitant to ask are thrown at you. Your toes are stepped on and an argument or fight results. If you think through properly, you sometimes find out that the person is eerily right and you have to make some painful changes. You also patch things up and the relationship is made stronger.
I love that I have people I can talk with and share details about my life. The good, bad, trying, sad and victorious moments are part of the package. At times they irritate me royally (normal) and I can only stand to relate in minute doses, other days I can’t get enough! Nowadays, those in-the-hair moments are not as much, and so I cherish what I can get.
We’ve learned over time when to give each other space and when not to. These people can ask questions you don’t think twice about answering and when less qualified individuals do it, you raise your eyebrows and wonder when they got the clearance to go ahead.
The various levels of friendships and relationship have different rules that apply. Once you know the type of person and friend you have it becomes relatively easy. As easy as any other relationship I guess. I cherish the people I can call out and that can do the same for me. I trust them and know that the same is reposed in me.
For my friends, good friends, close and best friends forever…thank you for the journey so far. I look forward to recounting more tales, leaking ancient photographs where nieces, nephews and other people can’t recognise you. May we know more years of getting to know each other better and growing in that trust. I know that the day is near where I can proudly tell my grandchildren that you’ve been a part of my life for the past fifty years. God bless you!