My delightful millennial coworker Stella often teases me at work about my Gen X philosophies and idiosyncrasies. When I was in my 20’s I never would have imagined going to bed at 8pm and that’s one of the many things about me that she banters about. When I explained to her that on my dating profile, I included that I like to have meaningful conversations about life, she exploded in laughter pointing out that it’s far too serious and a turn-off to say that. After her brief 101 on dating, I stood back and said yikes…she’s right! Thus, I elected to save the meaningful conversations about life exclusively for a blog or with my close friends only.
The Christmas season is usually a time of friendly get-togethers, re-connecting with people you don’t spend nearly as much time as you’d like, especially as you get older. This season is no different for me and it’s a lovely time that I cherish and wish would never end, celebrating friendships and placing priority over the hustle and bustle of work and that gawd awful thing we all chase called money.
As I get older, the friends I’ve made over the years and have retained have become more meaningful to me. My friends are a reminder to me of the unspoken bond, trust and comfort that we share with each other. Although we spend less than a handful of times a year getting together with many of them, our conversations feel so fluid, as if we never missed a beat in time.
This morning I enjoyed a delightful breakfast with my longtime friends from the gym, Rob, Candice, Marie and Leisha. I’ve known each of them for years but over the years our relationship grew from working out together to spending time outside of the community center. We had a great time catching up about our time at the gym to our holidays and I even managed to accidentally spill a glass of ice-cold water on my friend Rob! Brrrr! In typical Rob-like fashion, we had a great laugh over it.
In the last week, I met up with former coworkers of over 20 years ago, Vince and Sandra and shared rib-tickling laughter of stories from our past together to the present day. I even had the opportunity to meet up with long-lost friends over some drinks, and the list goes on throughout the season.
Where once friendships came and went like bus-boys at a restaurant, I find as I get older, the friendships I have, are far deeper and meaningful beyond the superficial. We get each other and are more accepting and free from passive judgement.
As we get older:
We become a collection of many people.
We are the person from our past and we are also bits and pieces of people whom we’ve met and made friendships with over the years. Pain, love, loss and success forge new layers onto us and like a tree, we grow and expand mentally and yes, physically sideways too! Our life branches out with twists and turns, but most importantly upwards. And from time to time, we need to prune and trim the branches that’s growing astray (listen to me talk as if I’ve got a green thumb!) Our virginity on life is lost once we experience our first true sense of loss.
We sometimes become more cynical. Some might blanket the world with blame because they believe everyone has done them wrong. Yet, some of us become more care free and learn to let go of worries and fears.
We sometimes become more stubborn and jaded by events. But sometimes, we learn to look at things through a different set of lens.
We yearn for self-understanding, searching for purpose because we realize that our time here is finite.
We become braver and allow vulnerability inside our hearts, realizing that there’s no point in fearing what others think of us and also realize we have nothing to lose by opening up our wounds to others.
We learn to smile and laugh at ourselves even more because the shame we once held onto died years ago when we opened up about our past.
We sometimes become lonelier and feel isolated, giving up on the hope for impossible things or things which may never come. Yet, we establish a stronger sense of self as we strengthen the relationship we have with ourselves.
“I’ve spent my life playing it safe to avoid being where I am right now.” – Jason Batemen in This is Where I Leave You
As I reminisce about each and every one of the friends I’ve made through the years, I also reflect upon how much I’ve changed as well. I realized that we are never the person we once were once we can allow change through our front doors. We’re no longer paralyzed by fear, uncertainty and discomfort, especially as we get older. Like I explained to a friend of mine the other night over dinner, “I’m 45 now and if I’m lucky, I have about 40 years left on this planet. I plan to fucking enjoy it while I can and when possible. Try to worry less because at the end of the day, whatever the outcome is, I’ll manage to navigate my way through. Screw the rules and expectations of where we should be at, because time is finite.”
Lastly, I’ll close off with a quote from Jon Bon Jovi, I’m not old…just older.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers who enjoy meaningful conversations about life!