Remember scouts? Goodness knows I loved being a girl scout. Learning new things, going camping, singing songs... That was the life when we were 7 and 8 years old. Good times.
One of the songs we sang went like this:
Make new friends, but keep the old,
One is silver and the other's gold.
Well. Recently I was reminded just how cool it is to have the same friend for a long period of time.
I've known M for 14 years. I can't even believe it's been that long, but yes, we met when we were in our 20s. It was a rambunctious time, and we attended many a happy hour in search of love and good times and revelry.
In recent years, we've both moved to different places (and then moved back), but with M, we can just as easily pick up where we left off, like when we're both "in town" at the same time. This year, our "old" hometown is our "new" hometown again, and we get to socialize from time to time since we live within true driving distance.
These are the things we talk about: brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, work, vacations, dating, other family members, what we should probably do with our lives, and so forth. Having the familiarity of more than a decade makes most topics accessible, and sometimes we venture into the metaphysical, which is always fun.
Having a friend who you've known for a long time gives you clarity, too. They were there for different stages of your life, so who better to recall those times with? She said something to me recently that sticks out. We were discussing my ex-boyfriend, and she said three words that validated my opinion, which were, "He was angry."
Strangely, I had just written something about him. My writing group (full of old friends, one of whom I've known since about 1994!) provided the motivation of writing about "the feeling of being stuck." And so, I thought about that relationship and wrote a story about it.
Part of me is always second-guessing myself, so when M said she always thought he was angry, I felt relieved. I have so many memories of feeling trapped in dealing with him, and I wonder if my view of him was altered by other things in my history. Hearing her succinct summary, though, made my day.
My writing buddy K happened to know the weirdo from my last post whom I completely ignored when I saw him (the weirdo) at the restaurant recently. K told me, after I told him about the run-in, that, "He is a master manipulator." This reinforced my satisfaction with how I handled the incident, as with this weirdo in particular, if you give him an inch, he'll take a mile.
So, when I am in doubt, my longtime friends come to my aid with their observations and their humor too. I know friends are great no matter how long you've known them, but sometimes the best sounding boards are the ones who know you and the other people in your life, who've witnessed the interactions and seen the effects.
Longtime friends, you are awesome!