Someone I’ve known since grammar school celebrated a birthday recently. We once were best friends, but as with many things that happen over time, our friendship eroded to the point where we call each other on our birthdays and send Christmas wishes via mail.
When I think back on the time we spent together as young girls, I remember all of the silly things we used to do, the arguments, the break-ups, becoming friends again, moving away – cities apart, and then states apart. We took different paths in our careers, different approaches to relationships, and now we find ourselves calling each other “friend” but in a very distant way.
One thing I’ve learned through the years is that good friends are hard to come by. When my family first moved from the city to the suburbs, my best friend and I tried to stay connected. I’d take the train to the city to see her and she’d do the same. She’d come over for family gatherings or we’d go to a renaissance festival during the summer. We even went down to Disney World one year. The thing is, growing up means dating, work, and getting involved in other things with other people. Time moved on and so did we. She continued with her education and career advancement; I worked, went to school, and then one year found myself getting married. She, of course, was my maid of honor.
My married life and my having a baby caused us to drift apart even further. She never married. Our worlds became even more distant. I did things as a wife and mother; she did things as a single woman.
And then moving to another state sort of sealed the deal – we were now long-distance friends.
You would think the advent of email and social web sites would have reversed the effects of physical distance, but they did not. I wish they would have. Truth is, I really wish we were as close as we once were. She could be someone I could confide in wholly and without reservation. I believe I feel that way because of our different careers and how we spend our lives. We live in different worlds and to me that makes it all the safer. Our life paths do not intersect except for our past. We could provide advice and thoughts based on our separate experiences without the complexity of being too close to the situation.
I have to wonder if it’s ever too late to rekindle old friendships that long-ago verged off onto different roads. It would be nice to think it so. But both parties need to desire being on the same path of friendship again. It’s not a one-way decision.