When I was a young boy growing up, I used to think my parents were old. They, along with their friends, my aunts and uncles were all old to me. I looked at them as people who were on a different playing field than me. They were serious and no fun. They laughed at things I didn’t think were funny at all. They’d sit together in the livingroom and talk about old people stuff, like what “so-and-so” was up to these days, World news or work. Dad would be always trading tips with his best friend Lewis about fixing cars and patch up work for our homes. Boring stuff to me. I had bigger fish to fry, and way more important things to think about like what my Saturday morning cartoon lineup was going to be and what I was going to build with my Lego set this week; a shopping mall? a school? a skyscraper? Oh, Life’s big decisions.
Just yesterday, I went out with my good friend Melba. That’s not her real name, but I’m sort of guessing you figured that out already. I’ve known Melba for about 12 years now. We went for nice hike yesterday and ended the evening on a patio at a local pub, catching up on our lives and latest aspirations. She cooly reminded me how in a matter of weeks, she would be turning 40. I flinched, while sipping on my Pinot Grigio and retorted, How did that happen?
In the 12 years of knowing Melba, I’ve experienced many fun memories with her. She’s been my activity partner in those dozen years, and her quirky sense of humor’s always been a welcomed bonus to our friendship. We’ve taken long roadtrips together, exploring off the beaten path towns and visiting States along the West Coast. We’ve done so many activities together that I can’t help but reflect back on: snowboarding, hiking, backcountry camping, dining, and tennis. We’ve watched musicals and attended live hockey games together, cheering on our favorite teams and making silly bets which I would lose more often times than not. We played basketball together and were a part of a ball hockey league entering in tournaments for several years. Heck, we even tried sandboarding on the Oregon coast once. I’d get the text from Melba, Hey Jason, what are you up to tomorrow? Wanna try…
It was a friendship that I knew would last the test of time. One built on respect and admiration.
So when she told me she was turning 40 in a few weeks, not only did I flinch, but I also said to myself, that’s not old at all! I’m inching to half a century in a couple of years and likewise, I don’t think of myself as old, and the way I used to think of my parents. We sat on the patio last night chatting like we did a dozen years ago, and I’m watching her polish off her beef dip, fries and pint of beer, whilst still managing her slender frame. Ya, though time’s passed, things haven’t changed.
Time is inconsequential, and as I reflect on many of my other friendships over the years, most of them have remained strong. We pick up where we last left off, even if it’s been a long time of not seeing each other. I got together with an old high school buddy of mine last week as well, and likewise, I could still feel the nostaligia of our bond. I could still feel the two of us playing NHL hockey on his Sega Genesis gaming console in his bedroom when we were in high school. I could still remember and feel the warmth and inviting feelings of dropping by his house, always greeted by his sweet mother, who’d offer me cake every time I visited.
In this last thaw of the pandemic, I look forward with excitement in getting together again with my other friends. They’ve been an important part of me, prior to Covid and to be honest, I’ve missed them. And I look forward to catching up with them, reminiscing about our friendships together, and how so much time has passed, yet it feels like we were all just in our twenties and thirties again. We don’t feel old at all.
And in the words of Jon Bon Jovi, I’m not old, just older.