Why is it that every single year, you get to mid-December and think: “where did the year go?” or “there was so much I wanted to do this year!”
And it is perhaps getting closer to the magic 5.0, that makes me reflect on this decade more or perhaps it is only now that I have the maturity to see beyond the obvious…. maybe?
But more than anything else, this decade has been about friendships.
And it is not just keeping existing friendships strong or making new strong bonds- its been about understanding the ebbs and flows of a relationship.
A relationship that we choose and nurture, not because we are bound by blood or a ring to, but because we want to have that person in our lives.
And as the decade draws to a close, I reflect on the many friendships new and old that have defined this decade and what they’ve taught me….
#1: Some bonds endure distance, time and all other distractions. The friendships forged over giggles in school, daring each other to do crazy things, the petty angsts that trouble the teens and sheer joy of living large at that age. In the last decade, these bonds have become even more important and with shared 40+years history- time and distance have not dulled the shine off them.
#2: Some friendships have grown over shared journeys. Particularly for those of us who moved to ends of the world after wedlock. I think there will come a time, when young women will no longer do this and I am so glad- but so many women leave everything and everyone they know to be with their husbands. The friendships they forge with other women in similar circumstances are quite deep. Sometimes quite unusual as well. Many of my friends without who I cannot imagine my life today, are these women, unlike my younger and current self in so many ways, but our shared journeys have given shape to deep and abiding bonds.
#3: The people that you meet along the way. The neighbour, the friend of a friend, the fellow yoga mate, the person who shares a passion, a fellow school mum. These are often instantaneous connections, either happens or does not. But a shared spark often conflagrates into a roaring fire of friendship. Some of my most intense friendships are these, people who I’ve met quite by chance and felt a kindered spirit or soulmate. The ease of intense conversation and the passionate discussions that help you grow.
#4: The good fun friends who you know will be good for laughs, a shared meal and giving you a lift- the no-strings-attached friends. You may not be their go-to, they are likely not yours. But when you feeling like having a good time and want company they are it! You always need a few of these for that last minute saturday plans!
#5: The short term friend: they come into your life, form intense connections. Suddenly every weekend is with them, you’re catching up mid-week, you’re doing your shopping with them, you’re in each other’s pockets…..but the intensity is unsustainable and a few months or a few years later….they (or you) have moved on. Some people only like intense frienddships and need to mean everything to their chosen friends. If you cannot do that for them, they move on or you do….
#6: The fone-a-friend…. the short term friendships that serve a purpose and move on- beware, don’t invest too much in these!!
#7: Friendships ebb and fall like everything else in life. Even in deep, long term friendships you often sense an emotional distance. Sometimes these hurt like all hell and you feel betrayed and lost. But there are times when you cannot or may not be the support your friend seeks, or they want some space and time or they are having an intense friend period. Whatever the reason, a distance can appear in your equation. This hurts, but if the foundations are good, the friendship endures……. Over time, I have been on both sides of this and while mostly friendships have endured and even become stronger. Except for a couple where this distance, once created did not ever return to its earlier closeness and the friendship now feels stilted.
#8: Friendships, like all relationships, need some love and care. They need to be a partnership and it cannot always be the one person doing all the work in keeping it going. Friendships are also intensely territorial, people can get deeply slighted and feel cheated if something they hold dear in a friendship is shared without knowledge….Secrecy in a relationship is insiduous and toxic, even more so in a friendship.
Over the last 10 years, in my 4th decade, I have been blessed- to continue to enjoy the friendships of people I met in pigtails and during the flared jeans college days. And meet and form deep connections with people who’ve come to mean a whole lot.
And I’ve learnt to let go; with alacrity when people have needed to move on and spread their horizons further.
I’ve learnt to welcome and appreciate people’s time and commitment even more.
And the most important….I’ve learnt to not dwell, but go with the flow….. and celebrate and rejoice on the things and people that are there for you and with you.