Good Friends and Getting Older
We can’t avoid age. However, we can avoid some aging. Continue to do things. Be active. Life is fantastic in the way it adjusts to demands; if you use your muscles and mind, they stay there much longer. ~ Charles H Townes
Not so much of a plan for tonight’s piece. Just an expression of gratitude for the opportunity to interact with a lot of my friends recently. I’m not a person a who keeps a large circle of friends. Honestly, there are less than ten people in my life who I would consider close friends. It’s been a really good week this past week because over that week I got to have a meal with three of them and have a long phone conversation with a fourth. A couple of these folks I’ve known for thirty-five years, a couple for only five.
Now I know some folks who know me well might argue with my math, I have a large number of acquaintances and colleagues who I’ve known over the years. I’ve even had a colleague once take great offense at me using the term acquaintance and I get that the term may hurt some people’s feelings. What I consider to be a good friend is someone who I can call at four in the morning, someone who if I say, I need you here is coming. You see I’m not someone who asks, I rarely need anything, I solve my own issues and these people know that, and know that if I’m asking, I need them.
These are people who I would respond to in the same way. If they called, if they asked I’m on the move, I don’t have to ask why, if they ask I go. I have people in my life who I like and interact with, good people who would come if they could, people who would want to come, but in the end, they likely wouldn’t. These are the acquaintances, lot’s of them good people, fun people but in the end not someone who I could truly depend on if my back is against the wall, and that’s ok. I think we do ourselves a disservice if we elevate people in our minds to a level they don’t really exist at. When we do this we inevitably get disappointed when people’s actions don’t meet our expectations. That’s why I choose to hold some people, in my mind, as acquaintances who might actually be more. That decision though, protects us both from disappointment.
But in this past week, having the opportunity to spend time with some of those people who I love and respect the most in this world made this a very happy week. One of the things we talked about, all of us, was aging. It’s happening to all of us and it brings with it funny discussions of developing things like old man skin and assorted ailments and hair growths. Discussions of the limited time we have left and what we’re going to do with it. Laments over those who have left us or are no longer in our lives. There are stories, always stories about the times we have shared.
I find these opportunities for good conversation to be the most satisfying thing I do. I would literally trade a week in the arctic photographing polar bears for a couple of long conversations with these people. As we age, as I move around, I have fewer and fewer opportunities for this type of interaction so they have become utterly precious to me. Having four in one week made it a precious week.
Not much advice tonight, not a very well-organized piece but there is a very specific takeaway. I have become utterly obsessed with a song, it’s called, Come Along by Cosmo Sheldrake, click the link, it’s a lovely 4 minute experience. I encountered it first in a commercial, you’ll likely recognize the tune. I’ve come to believe that heaven sounds like this song and smells like Cinnabon and tastes like a great slice of pizza and a coke. In the song there are a couple of great lines, ” Don’t let moments pass along and pass before your eys,” and “there is no such thing as time to waste or time to throw away.” Don’t forget that, make the time necessary to be with the people closest to you, it’s important and will bring on many happy days my friends. ~ Rev Kane