I don’t know if I truly have fewer friends now then I did when I was younger. (I am certain I see them less often.) I have very good relationships with my kids, so that is likely where the focus of my friendliness has been directed. However, as the kids get older and I get glimpses into what the crib/nest/home will look like when it is just my wife and I consistently sitting down at dinner together (my wife and I do get along well so it is not very disturbing), I start wondering who will be in my “friend circle” when the kids are all out stretching their early adult wings. And, is at this point I consider the “courting” of an old friend…
This specific friend and I have known each other for over 40 years. It is no exaggeration to say we were very good friends back in “the day”. We both attended a small Christian school together for most of elementary school. And, while we went to different high schools, we usually saw each other once a month or so. When it came time to go to college, we both joined the National Guard and went through Basic Training together. (The tuition reimbursement was the reason I served our country – sad I know.) Due to different health issues, neither of us finished our obligation, but both did make the effort to serve. As we moved into early adulthood, we developed different interest and different friends. While I dated less often, I became engaged and married first (he was in the wedding). My friend was better looking then me. He wanted to make sure he didn’t miss the right gal when she came along. So, he made it through his 20’s without getting married.
When our 30’s rolled around, my wife and I were having kids. He came to visit a few times, but the relationship was certainly changing. Where I had been fortunate to marry a woman with a career that far exceeded my potential, he continued to work hard and not get any great breaks. I am sure I may have lacked sensitivity sometimes. I am sure I said some things that may have been taken much more personally than they were intended. I am sure life’s experiences have made me a better person than I was then.
In our 40’s, my wife and I did foster care. We had quite a few different kids in our house. And, if our friends didn’t have kids and didn’t like lots of kids, they were even less frequent visitors than they were in our 30’s. Our kids grew and stayed active in soccer or gymnastics or whatever other activity was appropriate for young girls and boys. The last half of my 40’s was spent in Texas, so social ties from my previous life were even scarcer.
With the arrival of a new decade and a new set of life’s events, I wonder if our friendship can still find enough mutual energy to be revived? After getting your number a few months ago, it took me multiple months to text you. When the text sat idle for a couple weeks, I figured I had the wrong number or there was no mutual interest. After your eventual reply, I find you now have a Facebook account. It doesn’t look like you have changed much at all!
Truly, I am not sure if friendship revival is a likely outcome. While I selfishly crave the sincere compliment of a very old friend and the memories of the good old days that would unavoidably occur, I am concerned that his emerging out of the time machine into my life anew might be better in the virtual than the reality. LOTS of time has past and LOTS of experiences have been lived and forgotten. We are no longer the same people. Assembling the puzzle pieces of our previously shared lives and connecting them to our present lives might be more challenging than either one of us has the energy to expend.
If we don’t ever really reconnect, I wish you the best.