A New Old FriendPosted: September 28, 2009
I had the pleasure recently of reconnecting with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a very, very long time. Our mothers were best friends when we were kids, and we spent many vacations together. The last time I last saw her was over fifteen years ago, very briefly. When we met this time, we had an immediate connection, as if no time at all had passed.
We both grew up in Greenwich Village, in New York, with similar artsy bohemian parents. There are very few people in my life who grew up the way I did, and it was amazing to reconnect with my friend, after all these years. She understands things about who I am now – even though we haven’t spent time together in a long time – and we fell into easy conversation. She lives very far away now – across an ocean – and I was so sad when she had to leave. Part of it was nostalgia, probably, but I think part of it was realizing how alone I feel so much of the time. My husband is wonderful, and he’s my best friend, but there’s something very special about having a close female friend as well.
I find it gets harder to make new friends the older I get, particular a female “best friend.” Part of it is lifestyle – we’re all so busy living our lives – just getting through the day, dealing with the economy, homes, responsibilities. When you meet someone new at this age, there’s so much past to explain. At this age we’ve all experienced so much – different job paths, different love paths, different dreams and expectations. I love talking with people who are different than me, because I love learning about their lives and their choices, but often, at this age, I find people are either too busy to sit and have those sort of profound conversations, or they’re too guarded. They just don’t have the time or the energy to open up to someone new. I understand why and how that happens.
There’s something incredible about connecting with someone who understands you a very core way. My old friend understands what formed me – I don’t have to try to explain my family and my upbringing, because she lived it too. Even though our lives are different now, we both could see how we’ve made certain choices based on what we experienced as kids. It was so amazing to have someone say, “I know! I get it!” And even more wonderful was that we didn’t only talk about the past – we also talked about the present, how we feel today, as women of a certain age, and what we expected, and what we have, and what we anticipate. I realized how important that is, and how it’s been missing from my life.
I feel I’ve been given a wonderful gift. A new, old friend. Even if it’s another twenty years before we see each other again (and I hope it won’t be), I know that the next time we meet, we’ll be able to pick up again, as if it had been only days.
Do you have someone in your life who gets you? Do you find it easy to make new friends as you get older? Do you feel you have a “best friend,” or do you ever feel alone?