I started writing last night and had to stop. My thoughts were a jumble at the end of the day, and as I tried to get organized, I tapped into some deep emotions — sadness, aloneness, and a strange agitation.
This morning, things look brighter. As I reflect on friendship in the light of day, I feel blessed to have many friends. My friendships are all authentic — meaning, at what ever level of intimacy or familiarity, the enjoyment of time together is genuine and valued.
As I think of current friendships, my upstairs neighbors are probably at the top of the heap. We’ve been through a hurricane together, for Pete’s sake! They are the ones you’d borrow a cup of sugar from, or a corkscrew, or call after a traffic accident, or to bail you out of jail (hypothetically, of course!). It’s not a matter of quantity of time spent with them, but the quality of that time. My business partners, Paul and Julie, are right up there, too. I have known them for 10 years now, and it’s hard to express how much I appreciate their friendship and support.
Likewise, my BFF soul-mates, partners in crime across the miles, are people from my own Feldenkrais training in Chicago, now almost 10 years ago. A few are in my inner circle: Craig, Ger, Diane, Kristine. Carla, Joanna, Scott, Christiana, Therese, Dan,Terri. Marian, Ellen, Phyllis, and everyone. Regardless of the frequency of contact, there is a bond and a love there that is extraordinary. I would do anything for any of my “litter mates” from that experience — and I think they would for me, as well.
In this era of social media, it’s so interesting to see which friends from high school have reconnected. It is liberating to be almost 40 years out and free from the bullshit drama of growing up, settled in lives and relationships and careers. I find that now, as then, there is an affinity, a shared history and sense of humor, a context, and an appreciation for them as people. I think if we lived close to each other, we would once again choose each other as friends.
I know how friendships come and go, ebb and flow, fall away, intensify. Friendship has never felt solid, or like a “sure thing” to me. People change, they move away, they die. I have changed, and moved away, changed status, job, economic bracket — and some friendships, however treasured, turn out to be “location specific.” Nothing is forever, and love and loyalty can’t make it so. For this reason, my friendships are precious to me, right now.
Perhaps that is why, last night, I felt sad and alone. Who are my friends? Who can I let in? Am I really fending for myself in the world? Is there anyone I truly trust? In the dark, I’m not so sure. In the daylight, I can see all the past, current, and prospective friends, and be grateful for them.