Years pass and the excitement wanes. You get snippy with each other on the phone. You start to notice that she chews with her mouth open or makes gulping noises when she drinks. She notices that you laugh at everything which isn't quite as endearing as it used to be. You talk about and do the same things each time you get together. You complain about your sciatica or your allergies or that weird growth on your back that has yet to disappear and she complains about a persistent ringing in her ears. You make assumptions about each other, about how you'll react to something and whether or not you'll try something new. You take each other for granted. I'm not talking about husbands/wives/partners - I'm talking about old friends. I've met a lot of people in the past year, many of them through blogging and/or Twitter. Most of the interactions remain virtual but some have crossed over into real life. and I've felt the rush of new friend love. New friends bring with them the excitement of possibility. They bring new adventures and experiences and stories and jokes. They make few assumptions about you which means that you are free to be anything. They see clearly all the things about you that your old friends fell in love with but sometimes forget on a day to day basis. They tell you that you are smart and funny and sexy and cute and insightful and talented because they see you and there is such comfort in being seen by another person.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you leave all your old friends for trophy friends. Make new friends first and then ditch the old. Don't want to be caught with no friends! Oh stop now...I'm kidding. Quite simply, I have found that making new friends has helped me realize what I want to give to my old friends and what I want them to give to me. I want us to remember that we have chosen each other time and again over the years. I want us to open our minds to each other's potential, to new ways of being in the world. I want us to notice all of the things that we love about each other and declare that love. I want us to work on our relationships, to devote the time and energy to them that they deserve.
While writing this post, I was also "talking" to Deborah who I consider to be a new friend even though we are miles apart and I would certainly like to keep her around (if she'll have me). I was also thinking about my friend, Kristin, who I've know for many years. Through the course of my work, I visit a lot of nursing homes and, every time I leave a bad one, I call/tweet/BBM Kristin and say, "Don't let my kids put me at [insert nursing home name here]. It's horrible." She always responds with something like, "God no. I wouldn't allow that." Who else but an old friend would respond like that? If you have new friends in your life, revel in them. If you are blessed with old friends, treat them like they are new.
I'll drink to that! Actually, I have been drinking which might explain the fact that I've come across in this post like a baptist at a tent revival. Whatever. Here's to good friends, tonight is kinda special.