I know I haven’t written for a while and I must tell you it’s become a bit of a thing. The act of writing is a release for me and to have a bout of writer’s block is a real stress inducer. I also need to warn my readers that I have had three cups of coffee this morning and as my wife can attest to, that is dangerous. One cup leaves me witty while two cups brings out my sarcastic side. Three cups is basically uncharted territory.
Friends mean everything to me and all too often I end up obsessing about one or two that I have lost contact with. I always blame myself for that when in reality it is a two way street. We all become busy with the things of life. Careers, family, hobbies and past times all conspire to get in our way and suddenly that list of people you lost touch with starts to grow.
If you are now expecting some words of wisdom from me remember that I already warned you about the caffeine intake. You can remain hopeful but I promise nothing. It is just that for two days in a row, I have managed to reconnect with three groups of friends in a guilt driven effort of reunion frenzy. It started yesterday with a lunch date with two of my previous co-workers and then continued last evening with a surprise birthday party for a friend that conveniently brought together several friends from an old couples group.
This morning, after an excruciating patience demanding drive across town in rush hour traffic, (I just needed that off my chest so thank you for that moment of venting) I arrived at a breakfast reunion with fellow retired teachers from my now distant past. The group meets at the same restaurant every first Friday of the month for breakfast. I had known about it but just couldn’t seem to find the time to attend. Or was it the fear that I wouldn’t be able to go back to those old times with any success. The moment I walked into the room, two things happened. The first was instant acknowledgement by the assembled group. They both acknowledged me and even though twenty plus years had passed us by, I still recognized them. There is always that fear that as Thomas Hardy said “you can never go back”. My apologies to Mr. Hardy but that was my take away or at least all I gathered a million years ago in some english lit class that I had been required to take. Maybe one day I should actually read the book, but for now my contorted interpretation of his statement will suffice. The point is we can go back, if we are willing, and might just be surprised that as much as life can change us there is still the chance for reconnections to take place.
The second thing that happened was that within a matter of minutes, the conversations took me back to the memories of the careers we had shared and the years between melted away. The beauty of these reunions is that they take us back to times that were part of our life’s journey and were quite often the defining moments of who we had become. It is important to realize that in those reunion conversations we focus on the happy memories. Those memories of the times, that even though they may have had struggles and rough spots, we found ways to have fun. That is what made us friends, that drew us together, that represented the commonalities we shared.
Breakfast lasted two hours, thus three cups of caffiene, and thanks to the memories, I was able to catch up. We shared stories from the past and pictures from the present. We marveled at how our thirteen and fourteen year old students of the past were now in there forties and yes, fifties, even as we were denying that we had aged at all. The beauty of telling stories from the past is that our own age somehow retreats as the memories return us to those days. Maybe even “the good old days.”
So if there is a point to this story it is that we should stop feeling guilty about the friends we lost touch with and just take the opportunity when it arises to reconnect. Friends don’t really come and go, we just get separated by time. Take the chance to go back in time every once and a while and surprise those friends that time has separated us from. Odds are you might just surprise yourself at how quickly the years that separate you disappear.