I am usually a pretty quiet and reserved person. Although I have have many “friendly acquaintances”, I have a hard time making and keeping friends. In college, I hit the high point of my friend making capabilities. The friends that I made there were not just “friendly” people who I saw occasionally. They were real and genuine. The hundreds (thousands?) of hours that I spent with my college friends moved us way beyond acquaintances. I have never been able to replicate friendships like these, although I’ve tried to reach out for years.
Three years ago, I was feeling old, and lonely. I told my two closest friends from college that I wanted to see the for the my next big birthday. They said how far away that was, and that we might not remember or life might get in the way. But we did remember, and last January I bought my plane tickets. I haven’t seen these ladies in a decade, and haven’t spent more than a hour with them in nearly two decades. I haven’t lived on the same coast as them in 14 years.
Here is what the three of us did after I arrived on the east coast. We laughed. We shared. We ate food that was far too full of calories. We attempted to exercise together (made difficult by the fact that our bodies keep getting injured!). We re-visited every single college building that we have lived, ate, or studied in. We took 100 group selfies in front of our university’s landmarks. We hugged.
Here are some amazing things that I noticed after seeing them for the first time in a decade:
1. We could start the conversation right where we left it over a decade ago. The topics had changed somewhat. We now spoke of husbands, kids, schools, careers, and aging parents. The ideas, feelings, and complaints were all about the same.
2. In spite of spotty email correspondence over the years, we knew about each other’s lives. Maybe that is because I care about these ladies so much that I don’t forget or glance over their communications.
3. Our lives have paralleled each others in eerie ways. All three of us married Chinese men, are still married, had two children (almost exactly the same ages), fell into medical careers, are church attenders, do not wear make-up, own a Japanese mini-van, and are bargain shoppers/savers.
I wish my dearest friends lived closer. I dream of one day having close friends that live near me with whom I can share my daily life. I envy those who can just pop over to their BFFs house and cry, laugh, or just sit together. But I am so glad to have these long-distance ladies in my life.
Here’s to friendships that endure!
Here’s to our next big birthday get together!