We’re so fearful of aging and the passage of time, that we forget its gift — old friends. I use the word, “old” with reverence. It takes time with friends to learn how we are similar and how we are different; which values we share and where we disagree. It takes a multitude of experiences to test integrity and to build trust. And it takes time to heal — to forgive and to move beyond the misunderstandings and arguments that happen — even in caring friendships. Many of you reading this have enduring relationships with me. We've weathered storms both together and separately. And there's deep respect for the challenges we’ve faced, and the strengths we’ve drawn upon in the important life and death issues inevitable to living a diverse and full life.
Each of us has fascinating stories to share about where we came from and how it is that we're here now. Our adventures stretch outside the boundaries of our childhood neighborhoods into a world beyond what we could ever have imagined. We continually learn new habits and unlearn old ones. We embrace fresh ideas and new technologies and test their relevance to our paths. We take risks and create opportunities for ourselves and for others. Each of us, in his or her own way, is on a hero's journey. There are no exceptions; living a full life demands that of us.
Our goals are about thriving, not merely surviving. And each year our workouts are not as much in the gym as they are in the heart. We share the fears, tears, and years with those we trust. And instead of being knighted, or being honored with medals, we bestow the title, "Old Friend," on those dear enough to earn it. It's a title that signifies loyalty and availability — traits that are tested in time, and cannot be bought or sold. So here’s a toast to new and old friends alike:
"I look forward to our years of sharing the pleasures, disappointments, and surprises that come our way — some invited and some unexpected — but all to be treasured with loving companionship."
How else do relationships like ours become deserving of the honored title, Old Friend?
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Special thanks to one of my old friends, Pol, for offering to edit these musings.