Twenty-nine years from now, I’ll be 61 years old (God willing). I imagine that life will be exciting.
I’ll be surfing the Internet, while wearing my vintage Google glasses. I’ll take regular trips to space on Virgin Galactic, because bingo nights would be so passé. And I’ll hop into my little buggy, George Jetson style, to go visit family and friends.
My family can’t really throw me away. So I know their doors will be open. But friends? Will the friends I have today still be around? I hope so.
Will the friends I have today still be around?
You make friends at various stages of your life, and think that these people will be the godmothers/godfathers and honorary aunties/uncles of your children…That they’ll be there for every life stage. But some fade away.
Still, if you could choose the friends you’d definitely want around years from now, do you know who you would choose? What would be the criteria?
I think that the friends I’ll still have years from now are those who make having me in their life a priority, and vice versa.
I guess those who stick around will be those who ‘get’ me. They’ll be the ones who are there for support, when I survive a big life change or can be there for me when I’m weak.
The friends we want to keep are those who encourage and support us, in times of adversity, and even for trivial frustrations.
The friends we want to keep are those who put up with our incessant calls/BBMs/Whatsapps/Skypes, when we feel like we’re losing our minds during a breakup or ‘hard times’…and they don’t throw it back in our face when we’ve finally regained our sanity.
The friends we want to keep are the ones who show up, when we call for help – even if helping us means inconveniencing themselves. The friends we want to keep are those who remember that we prefer phone calls to texts for our birthdays. They add value to our lives, and let us do the same for them (unless you’re really selfish and don’t care about that stuff).
But, sometimes, our friends go through new stages, and we don’t know how to adapt to their new lifestyle, and they don’t know how to ensure that in their own adjustment, they reserve a spot for us. Years from now, will Shelley-Ann or Sheldon make time to chat with you, share funny stories, or attend your daughter’s wedding? Will you do the same?
I deeply appreciate my friend Stacy who calls ever so often to check in with me, or to see if we can do lunch. She’s married, and has two, young, highly energetic children, but she doesn’t forget her friends – single, busy, or married. Her family is her priority, but she doesn’t put her friends on much lower totem poles.
The same goes for other friends who have gotten married, are having kids, have busy careers, or live abroad, but still actively maintain our friendship – checking in regularly to see how I’m doing, to ask if I got my work done, to discuss what’s going on with them, and to catch some kicks when they see, hear, or think of something funny or otherwise entertaining.
Unfortunately, some friendships disintegrate due to bacchanal, jealousy, or competition.
Making friends as an adult isn’t as simple as kindergarten days, when you’d walk up to someone and say, “My name is [insert name]. You want to play catch with me?”
But when you do make new friends, at various stages of adult life, you’ll find that, sometimes, the new friends in your life are the ones who end up being there for the long haul. Ever found yourself calling a newer friend – say someone you’ve met in the last two to three years – to ask for help or advice, rather than Shelly Ann/Sheldon who you’ve known from your youth?
Why does this happen? If your older friends don’t understand what drives you, and your new lifestyle, subconsciously, you could pull away from them, and they from you. As you get older, you compartmentalise your needs…and the friends who tend to those needs. As you get older, you solidify the relationships that can last.
Some friends are like family, and if you lose them you’ll miss them. You’d fight for the friendship the same way you’d fight for a romantic relationship…because friendships are just that…a relationship…filled with love.
Twenty-nine years from now, I imagine that laughing with my friend Anthony about his escapades in his 20s and 30s will turn into laughing about his adventures with Viagra in his 60s and 70s (though he claims he’ll never need it). I imagine that my girlfriends will chat about whether they should dye their hair violet or blue – colours older ladies seem to think are vogue – or whether to cut off their hair. We’ll email each other photos of our children and grandchildren (if we have any), and remember when a Kiss bread used to cost TT$11.50, and be appalled by its new price – $20.
It’s true that not all of our current friends will be our friends a decade or two, from now. Yes, you will lose contact with some good friends…because you’ve gotten too busy. Out of ten friends, probably five might stay ‘til the end. But make the effort to stay in touch with those who are worth it.
Whatever life brings, I hope that the friends I value, today, will be around, when I go to get my first set of dentures, have to suffer the indignity of asking a young’ un for help with the latest technology, or need someone to join me in making some senior citizen mischief.
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