Hey party people! I am showing up for you today as a person torn in six thousand different directions, wired on coffee, and just a little out of my mind. Just to give you a peek into the state of things I stopped to nap at a gas station today so that I wouldn’t drive off the road, and I arrived at a doctor’s appointment late without any of my needed paperwork or my driver’s license! But the really cool thing is that when I stopped at that gas station to take a nap, fate brought one of my very good friends honking and waving her crazy arms into the parking spot beside me.
I have had this tapping on my shoulder all weekend urging me to turn my head and look. I just kept saying, “not now, not now, please wait, I promise to give you my full attention soon,” and it turned out soon was just not as soon as inspiration would like. The nudging got more and more forceful, like a child pulling on your pant leg with a story, and as much as I tried to pacify that child, no amount of, “hold on one second, mommy is busy,” was working. Pulling into a random gas station hundreds of miles away from my friend and seeing her face turned out to be the final straw from the impatient world of inspiration. So here I am. And my child wants me to tell you about friendship, the childhood kind ironically.
If you live on this planet you know that friendship can be a strange and difficult being. Friendships come and go, they are beautiful and sometimes really shitty, and they involve work, like a lot of work sometimes. Let’s be real here, sometimes even the greatest of friendships fall into your pile of to-dos, and time goes on and your pile grows. At some point you go through your pile, unbury your friendship, blow off the dust, and realize that it’s long past its expiration date. You didn’t feed it what it needed when it needed it, and now it’s not nearly as alive as it used to be. It’s been long enough that it may be awkward or pointless to try to revive it.
Listen people, this is a totally natural progression of life. It’s not bad, it’s not good, its just reality. Time is not infinite, and as much as you wish to give your time to every single person you’ve ever loved, you just can’t. You’ll look at that old aged friendship from the bottom of the pile and your heart will twinge with regret that you didn’t express the love when you had the chance, that you didn’t call when you had the time, that you didn’t make more of an effort to renew that relationship and keep it shiny and new for as long as you possibly could.
Sometimes however, if you’re really lucky, the universe joyfully takes your “expired” friendship like it’s Bed Bath and Beyond. Everything falls into place and you are allowed those moments that you always hoped for to express your love.
Sometimes you get to go to the wedding of your very first real friend, you get to see a whole bunch of people you never see but always think about, and you get to share the things that for some reason you never have before. Your friend will tell you about how she remembers the day she met you. How you came to 1st grade wearing a plastic Hercules belt and she thought you were so cool, after all the years you spent thinking that no one in elementary school could have ever found you any manor of word that was even close to cool. Emotions will well up in you as you hug after such a long time apart, and it feels like nothing has changed. You’re still the same people crafting in girl scouts, getting yelled at for playing too hard and aggravating someone’s asthma, and sweating together in your marching band uniform with all the people you love, laughing so hard and inhaling so little that you are a little afraid that you might actually die.
It seems that fate gives you what you need when you need it. You can’t keep all the friendships new, but you can do what you are able with what you’re given. You can go to that wedding and finally be given the chance to say, “I miss you, I love you, I am so happy that you’re happy, you are my oldest friend.” You can say it with as much love as you can muster, and you can hope that fate gives you another chance to say it again soon. But in the meanwhile you have faith that time won’t tarnish your memories, and that your coupon for friendship isn’t going to expire. Because you won’t have time for every single person, as much as you dream of all the time to talk and all the money to visit. I thought this reality was really sad for a long time, but actually I think it may be secretly beautiful. I am never going to turn down an opportunity that fate gives me to love on my forever friends. Even if that opportunity is once in a blue moon, even if it’s just Facebook, even if it’s stopping at a gas station to take a nap and accidentally, ironically, and in total small world fashion, running into one of those friends. I will always attend that wedding. I will always respond to that Facebook message. I will always be late for a doctor’s appointment to have coffee with that friend that fate placed in front of me. I will love on each and every single person I can, as much as I can, for as long as I can. Non-stop. Forever.
Sometimes life happens when you weren’t expecting it and things get shuffled to the bottom of the pile, but that is so ok. We shouldn’t let ourselves feel guilty, we should just let it be what it is. Accept it, and enjoy the times when fate gives you friends who share their story of the time you wore that Hercules belt, because those are the best possible moments.