A Friend for Life: The Beauty of Connection

Last night I called a friend of mine out of the blue. I was alone, my children had plans and I had not made any for myself. I had been working all afternoon on a school project. This 18- week Digital Marketing Immersion course at Columbia University is intense. It requires time and energy, and I am in the midst of a large group project. I needed a reprieve, so I went for a drive and sent my friend from 22 years ago a text.

We ended up on the phone. It was the most delightful conversation. We discussed our lives, our children, our marriages, our life experiences and all that has transpired in the past 22 years. Between us, we have experienced many unique, interesting, challenging and wonderful times. It was as if I had seen her yesterday, as if there were not five children and two husbands and distance or time that had passed between us. She is a true friend, the kind that you can call after 22 years and immediately laugh and care and connect.

There are few friends like this in life. I have many connections and acquaintances for which I am grateful, but this is different. This is the type of friendship that stirs my soul, makes me regret that we have not stayed in touch, yet enriches my present knowing that I now have my friend back. A person I can confide in and trust, that rare gem.

How do we let circumstances transform our friendships? We lose touch: our children, our homes, our parents’ declining health, our pets, our health, our lives become much more intense. Life requires more of our personal energy. As a single parent, all of this responsibility has always been 100% on me, which is fine and good, and I’m grateful, but it’s difficult for others to imagine.

My family takes precedence above all else and demands much love, time and energy. My work and desire to learn is also time consuming. When I have free time, I crave immersion into thoughts of traveling to different cultures and understanding psychology.

I like creating things as well, such as gardening and writing. Things that touch my soul and deepen my spiritual connections. Having a friendship requires effort, time and mindful attention. I am blessed with many friendships that I have nurtured, some since nursery school, but this one particular friendship stands out.

Our mothers were great friends, we are close friends and our girls are friends too. Such a beautiful flow of connectedness: Three generations of friends. I think it would make a nice photograph. It’s wonderful that we have been blessed with this gift. There is an old adage that says to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend. My connection yesterday reminded me of the importance of nurturing friendships, old and new, near or far.

As Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D so aptly wrote in Psychology Today on the psychology of friendships, “We engage in friendships on a voluntary basis and we recognize that our friends are also making the choice to engage in the relationship. This strong mutual alliance was summed up clearly by one woman who observed, ‘I feel like my circle of friends are the family I chose.’”

Indeed, chose your friendships wisely when you are young, and they will continue to enrich your life at any given intersection.

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