I remember, when I was pregnant with my first born, I’d drag myself out on friday nights to go out with my friends. I would invariably spend the night being offered seats and speaking about the impending birth with strangers at the bar. I was the first of my friends to get pregnant, and it just seemed silly to sit out for nine months when everyone else was hanging out. I was afraid that if I stayed at home, I would lose my mojo, I would become irrelevant. The first of many lessons about making and keeping friends in a grown-up world.
One of the hardest things about growing up has been accepting the changing rhythms of friendships. There’s an ebb and flow in these relationships. Moments when I can’t imagine not seeing someone every day, and moments when I can go months without talking to the same person. It’s been hard to accept how life gets in the way of friendships. How marriages, and births, and moves, and jobs, and responsibilities get in the way of the things that matter.
Yet, there’s nothing lovelier than seeing an old friendship hasn’t changed at all. There are those friendships that were special from the beginning. Friendships that were based on youth, and joy, and music, and fun. When the world changes, and we change along with it, it’s a gift to be able to go back to that friendship like we never left. To be able to share our triumphs and our failures and feel like it’s been days instead of years since we last saw each other. It’s like the camp song says, old friends are golden, they are artifacts that should be cherished.
There’s a certain amount of alchemy in friendships. A moment when magic happens and simple metal becomes precious. When a friendship transcends its most basic beginnings and becomes something to cherish. I’ve been blessed to have friendships like these. Friends who are there when you least expect it, and friends who stay around when everyone else has moved on. And friendships that go through beautiful metamorphosis.
Some of my closest, most important relationships, started from the most humblest beginnings. Co-workers, mentees, employees, friends of friends: relationships that weren’t meant to go past their initial utility. What was often an exchange based on give and take became something more reciprocal, more equal. But, as time passed by, and we grew and changed, the friendships grew and changed and became more organic.
A large part of what made these changes possible was my willingness to accept people for who they are. To allow people to grow, develop, and change along with me. And, to accept my own development, and share it with these friends. It’s sometimes hard to be present, to enjoy a moment, and to be fully committed. To love your friends for themselves, and not for who you expect them to be. Yet, these moments are what makes true friendships. To know who is there for you in your most dire of moments and to reciprocate when the time comes. And to allow yourself the freedom of loving your friends for who they are and knowing that they will love you at your most unloveable.