Or is it, FOREVER? I remember being in school when I was younger and people would talk about their best friends. How they would think that the person would be their best friend forever. The idea of not being the best of friends was inconceivable.
I’ve realized though…as we grow and change, friendships change too. My relationship with friendship has been up and down. When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time with adults up until I went to school at 4. Usually my mom’s friends and my grandparents’ friends. Also, I was an only child until I was 9.5. So, I wasn’t use to hanging around and playing with my peer group so much.
Once I started school, my parents decided they wanted to move around a bunch, so over the course of my 13 years of public schooling (K-12), I went to 12 different schools: in grade 6, I attended 4 different schools. Needless to say, I made and left friends very often. I didn’t have the kind of childhood where you go to the same school with the same people your whole life. I’d watch movies like “Now and Then” and really envy that perceived camaraderie they had. At one point, I think it was around that Grade 6 year, I decided that books were better friends than people, and I retreated into that world, devouring everything I could get my hands on.
Probably the best time of friendship that I’ve ever had was in university. In high school, I spent 3 years at the same school (longest at any school-which isn’t to say that we didn’t move 3 times in the same city during that time). In high school, I made some friends…and I’m actually still friends with quite a few of them, which says a lot. I don’t have the group of high school friends that all spent time together and then continued being friends after high school. My friends are all separate…none of them friends with each other and their only connection being me.
But university…university was great. I had the closest thing to a friend group that I’ve ever experienced. I met my oldest and bestest friend when I was 10, and she was 9. We then saw each other again when I was 14 and she was 13. But it was really in her first year and my second year that we started our deeper, more “best” friendship. We ended up living together (with her sister as well) for 3 years. We laughed, we cried, we partied. We have shared pretty much everything with each other.
I still call her my best friend, but it’s more for that we’ve known each other a long time. Our lives have diverged: she is a professor at a university, married, with a sweet daughter, a dog and a cat, in a house that she owns. I…have none of those things. But we can not see or talk to each other for a long time and still come together comfortably as if we’ve just seen each other.
I find that at this point in my life, friendship is hard. I mean that in the sense that the friends that I was once closest to have moved on to marriage and children, and while I am still friends with them, we see each other very rarely and their lives are quite different from mine.
The new friends that I’m making are great, but lack the depth and profundity that my old friendships seem to have. The familiarity, comfort and acceptance.
Which leads me to often feel alone. But, that is the greatest gift, isn’t it? When we can learn to be so happy in our own company and become “friends” with ourselves…that is the best and what I aspire to. At this point in my life, I think I am ready to “join the herd” in my own way and have a partner, then a child. I think the people whose partners are also their greatest friends are so fortunate. I have never experienced that in my life. That is what I want.
May we all experience the love, loyalty and fun of deep and true friendships. xo